Address by the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in the Netherlands His Excellency Dr. J. Borkowski
at the opening of the Information Centre: The Poles of Driel
Driel, 18 September 2014

Dear Mayor van Asseldonk,
Dear Honorary Consul Baltussen,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to be able to perform the official opening of the Information Centre: The Poles of Driel today. This has been for a long time a sincere wish of both the Polish Embassy and the Foundation Driel-Poland to set up such a centre. The interest with the Battle of Arnhem and the participation of the Polish soldiers in the combats on the Dutch soil has been growing steadily over recent years. Certainly the turning point was the formal rehabilitation of general Sosabowski and his soldiers in 2006 and decorating the general, posthumously, and his Brigade with high Dutch decorations by Queen Beatrix.

It is my duty to extend my thanks first of all to the management and the collaborators of the Foundation Driel-Poland, which for many years has been a main driving force behind cherishing the memory of general Sosabowski and his brigade. Special words of gratefulness go to Mr. Arno Baltussen, our Honorary Consul. We also appreciate very much the active input of the village of Driel and whole community Overbetuwe represented today by the local authorities headed by Mr. van Asseldonk. Last but certainly not least, I would like to extend our warm words to vfonds and its Director Mr. Heerts. We thank all contributors who generously made this project possible to materialize.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem and it is a good time to reflect about the future. We should definitely use the new information centre to reach those groups of the Dutch society who still must be better informed about the Polish-Dutch history. The Polish-Dutch relations are becoming in these years ever closer, and this is corroborated, among others, by the fact that in two days The President of Poland, Mr. Komorowski, will be visiting Driel together with His Majesty the King Willem-Alexander. We sincerely hope that their meeting, which takes place four months after the visit of Thier Majesties the King Willem-Alexander and the Queen Maxima to Poland – first state visit abroad – will serve as a stimulus for more institutionalized cooperation between Poland and the Netherlands and better visibility of Poland in this country. Our nations are so close geographically and culturally, but we still have to reestablish fully the bonds broken by the Iron Curtain. Let us use the tool of our history to build common future, and let the young generations know that the links between our two countries are rooted deep and our history has also a heroic episodes.

I hereby declare the Information Centre: The Poles of Driel open.

Thank you very much.