‘Get in touch with the Dutch!’ UAE school children celebrate International Day for Tolerance with Dutch Ambassador

‘Get in touch with the Dutch!’ UAE school children celebrate International Day for Tolerance with Dutch Ambassador

SHARJAH, 17th November, 2021 – The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands started a journey of culture and public diplomacy with the UAE’s youth on Tuesday on the occasion of International Tolerance Day.

The event titled ‘Get in touch with the Dutch!’ was held in collaboration with the House of Wisdom in Sharjah at this futuristic social hub, and saw a series of Dutch-themed activities and interactive sessions organised for children aged 7 – 11 years to introduce them to the vibrant culture of the Netherlands.

Initiating the conversation, Ambassador Lody Embrechts asked the 33 young participants several questions to help them understand the Netherlands and it’s culture.

Where it was located.

How big it was.

Who the head for state was? And most importantly, on the eve of 50 years diplomatic relations between the UAE and the Netherlands, ‘how long have they been friends?’

Lody Embrechts said, “At Dutch schools, children from all walks of life and with very different background are able to study side by side in the same class.

Some are even best friends and are taught to be tolerant and be there for one another irrespective of religious beliefs or colour of skin.

They are taught that judging others based on their religious beliefs or colour of skin is called discrimination.

If they must judge a fellow human being, let it be based on nothing but the content of their character.

It is no surprise that Dutch children understand the true meaning of tolerance at a very young age.

“In the UAE last year, it was estimated that expatriates from all over the world accounted for around 92% of the 3.

2 million population.

As the UAE host more than 200 nationalities, we live in an extremely diverse society, wherein one single school classroom could include children from over ten different nationalities.

A good appreciation for ‘Tolerance’ here in the education system will ensure that children from very different cultures can co-exist together and learn from each other, while staying true to their specific backgrounds.

The main aim of today is to support educational institutions and people at large to believe that tolerance is an integral part of society.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, Director, House of Wisdom, said, “On the International Day of Tolerance, we are bringing the beautiful and diverse culture of The Netherlands into the House of Wisdom with our ‘Let’s Get in Touch with the Dutch!’ programme, which will not only celebrate our differences, but also strengthen our cultural collaboration and enable us to benefit from each other’s experiences.

At the House of Wisdom, children tried on the Dutch wooden shoes (clogs).

The ambassador explained why Dutch people once needed wooden shoes; because back when most of the population were poor farmers the shoes were water-resistant, cheap, well insulated, and provided good feet protection.

Not all the children could fully recall all the reasons he gave in his answer, but they all had great fun tying them on!

The children also tasted Dutch Stroop waffles (traditional Dutch cookie), Dutch Cheese sticks, Dutch milk and the Ambassador explained how to eat in a Dutch style.

Stroop waffle with coffee or hot milk, cheese is an almost daily food in the Netherlands.

Children had explained to them what the delft blue design means in the Netherlands.

They were given the chance try tulip arrangements in a delft blue vase.

Miffy is a famous cartoon character from the Netherlands.

The ambassador explained about Miffy and provided some Miffy products to draw.

Children then drew their own interpretation of how Miffy might look in the UAE.

The programme did not just end with the Ambassador’s visit.

Culture stations will be running for a week to foster children’s experiences.

At the end of this week, a special exhibition of all Dutch culture artworks will be held at the House of Wisdom.

In addition, there will be an award to the winner of artworks by the Dutch Ambassador.

Through these fun activities of introducing the UAE’s children to age-old Dutch traditions and the nation’s cultural history, The House of Wisdom is promoting its goals to celebrate cultural diversity and mediate cross-cultural dialogue as a means to promote harmonious co-existence.

Ambassador Lody said, “I haven’t had so much fun in ages, it was such a pleasure to contribute in this way to International Tolerance Day.

My wish for the future is that all children understand and appreciate the true meaning of tolerance from a very young age.

»Share Your Opinion On TDPel Media«