Speech by Princess Laurentien in honor of the completion of the Omotemonbashi bridge in Nagasaki
Your Imperial Highnesses, ladies and gentlemen,
Congratulations on the completion of the Omotemonbashi of Dejima. I am honoured and humbled to be back in the beautiful country where I lived for three years when I was a teenager and to attend the opening of this very special bridge. This bridge is so much more than just a connection between Dejima and Nagasaki; it connects Nagasaki with the world. For many it is the fulfilment of a dream and we are lucky to be witnesses of this moment.
On behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I would like to convey my heartfelt appreciation for the efforts made by the Nagasaki government and population in restoring and reconstructing the Dutch trade post on Dejima to its former glory. Together with the Dutch Cemetery at Goshinji Temple it marks an historical example of our shared history.
This city has been working on this unique project for more than sixty years. The story of Dejima is your heritage, but the rebuilding of Dejima is your legacy! You have revived the Dejima of the early 19th century by reconstructing buildings and restoring the original atmosphere. Today, you are connecting Dejima to the outside world. And through this bridge you are demonstrating the multi-faceted value of culture and cultural heritage.
This moment, here, today, exemplifies that, by reviving the past and connecting it with the now, we inspire the future. The message of Dejima and the Omotemonbashi is inspiration: knowledge of Dejima will help future generations to have a better understanding of what once was and, even more importantly, what can be.
Nagasaki no Minna-sama, hontou ni otsukaresama deshita, soshite arigatou gozaimashita. Omotemonbashi no kansei wo ki ni, Nagasaki to oranda no kizuna ga sara ni tsuyoi mono ni natta koto to omoimasu.
Sate, watashi-tachi no senzo no ashi-ato wo tadotte, heiwa de, akarui mirai ni mukatte, kono hashi wo issho ni watarimashou.*
I look forward to meeting you all in Dejima! Thank you for your attention.
*“To all those in Nagasaki, I pay respect to your hard work, and thank you very much. The completion of the Omotemonbashi is the occasion on which the bond between Nagasaki and the Netherlands has become a stronger one. Let’s now follow the footsteps of our ancestors and pass the bridge together on our way to a bright and peaceful future.”