Friday, March 30, 2012

Canada + Netherlands: Countries bonded for years


There's been a longtime relationship between Canada and the Netherlands. On Jan. 19, 1943, Dutch Princess Juliana gave birth to her daughter Margriet Francisca in Ottawa's Civic Hospital. She was the first royal baby to be born in North America.

Crown Princess Juliana arrived in Canada with daughters Beatrix and Irene in June 1940, one month after fleeing the Netherlands to escape the German army invasion. Juliana was the heir to the Dutch throne, and lived in exile in Ottawa for four years, where she was a regular on the social scene. When the Canadian government discovered Juliana was with child, they proclaimed the hospital's maternity suite "extraterritorial" so that the royal baby would have full Dutch citizenship.

To thank the City of Ottawa, Princess Juliana presented the capital city with 100,000 tulip bulbs, as recognition for the safe haven that the royal family received plus the role that Canadian troops played in the liberation of the Netherlands. Today, the tulips live on, with the 60th anniversary of the Canadian Tulip Festival scheduled for May 4-21, 2012 in Ottawa.

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is the honorary patroness of Floriade 2012 | World Horticultural Expo in Venlo, Holland. The every ten year exposition opens April 5 and runs through October 7, 2012.

Tulips at Keukenhof in Holland - March 2012
Photo by Sue Frause