KLM Celebrates 4th Dutch Heritage Month

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By A Correspondent

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines celebrated the 4th anniversary of Dutch Heritage Month on May 29 at Toronto Pearson Airport..

2014 marks the 4th anniversary of May having been designated Dutch Heritage Month. Ontario provincial parliament proclaimed May as Dutch Heritage Month in March 2011.

Karan Deswal,  Director Stations and his Air France / KLM team in Toronto, celebrated Dutch Heritage month with a reception attended by senior  management, representatives of the Dutch community, travel industry, media and officials of the airport communiity.

The celebration had a variety of Dutch touch with Heineken, cheese and a variety from the Dutch bakery while the invited guests were mingling amidst the hostesses wearing Dutch costumes.

Canada is a huge market for KLM: the first KLM aircraft landed in Canada for the first time on May 29, 1949 as the second European airline to fly to Montreal, operating since 1974 to Toronto, and it is five years since KLM resumed flight to Paris.

Honourable Bal Gosal, Federal Minister of State (Sport), was the Chief Guest, and presented congratulatory greetings certificate to Karan Deswal.

Mrs. Jeanine de Vos, Netherland’s Consul in Toronto, represented the Consul General, at the event.

Howard Eng, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (“GTAA”) was present with two of his predecessors: Lloyd McCoomb and John Kaldeway.

Ms Elizabeth Witmer, MPP Kitchener-Waterloo, who introduced the Bill on November 5, 2010 and piloted it through the Provincial Parliament, was applauded for her achievement. 

The celebration cake was cut by Karan Deswal and his deputy, Christina Stewart, in the presence of Fabien Pelous, Vice President and General Manager Air France / KLM, other Senior Management of AF/KLM and invited guests.

The event also included celebration of the
- 40th anniversary of KLM's first flight to Toronto on 29th April 1974, and
- 10th Anniversary of Air France / KLM merger and integration of AF / KLM in Toronto. Toronto was the first joint station in the world.

The Significance of May

May is historically significant for the Netherlands and the Canada’s Dutch community. It was on May 5, 1945, Canadian forces led the allies and liberated the Netherlands from its World War II occupation. The Dutch have never forgotten nor have they failed to celebrate the occasion each May 5th with ongoing gratitude for Canada’s efforts.

“By proclaiming the month of May as Dutch Heritage Month, the Province of Ontario recognizes the important contributions that Dutch Canadians have made to the economic, political, social and cultural fabric of Ontario’s society,” reads the Preamble to the Dutch Heritage Month Act, 2010.

The younger generation keeps up the tradition with equal enthusiasm. And, during WWII, Princess Marguerite was born in Ottawa – where a part of the hospital was officially declared territory of The Netherlands to respect and ensure her place in line for the thrown. Each year the Dutch continue to send Ottawa thousands of tulip bulbs to express their appreciation for the shelter provided Queen Juliana and her family during that time.

The past ties are warm and Canada welcomed many Dutch immigrants after the war. So, it’s pretty cool to celebrate all of that with more than just one day. A whole month is more fitting. Most of the 500,000 Ontarians have been celebrating Dutch Heritage all month.

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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