Dutch campaign for Scottish independence prepares for rally
There will saltires, lion rampants, rousing speeches and more than a few attendees dressed in tartan. But while thousands are expected to march through Glasgow on May 5, a similar event taking place the following week will have one important difference - it will be held in Den Haag, the political capital of the Netherlands.
It’s the second annual public event organised by a group calling itself Netherlands for Scottish Independence. Organisers told The Scotsman the intention was to mobilise “Scots living in Holland, but also Dutch living in Scotland”.
The rally on May 12, which is expected to attract around 100 people, is not the first pro-independence event to be held outside Scotland but offers a further reminder of the international attention the subject can still attract.
Co-organiser Ilona Brandwijk moved to Hawick in the Borders 10 years ago from her home city of Zoetermeer in South Holland.
“I was a regular visitor to Scotland before I made the move, as my father and grandfather had been before me,” she said. “When I was paid-off from my job in the Netherlands, I decided to take the plunge and move there.”
A customer services advisor, Brandwijk described her politics as “left-of-centre” and “anti-nuclear weapons”. She became a member of the SNP and is a committed supporter of the European Union.
“I was against Brexit,” she added. “We know there are some bad things in the EU but were are better off as members.
“The Scottish people can take care of themselves. But internationally, when it comes to Scotland, all people hear from is the London media. We act as a counter to that.”
Raimond Dijkstra, another co-organiser, is based in Holland. Asked how he became interested in Scottish independence, he said: “I’ve lways have had a interest in Scotland in general. About eight years ago, I visited for the first time with my dad and fell in love with the country. And no country should be controlled from a far.”
He added: “We want to mobilise Scots living in Holland and the Dutch too, but also the Dutch living in Scotland.”
But how do the organisers respond to inevitable questions that Scotland’s constitutional future should only be decided by those who live there?
Dijkstra quotes Alyn Smith, an SNP MEP, who asked the European Parliament “not to give up on Scotland.”
He continued: “I will never do that, out of the love for the country.”