Armed forces awarded Geuzen Medal
The Chief of Defence, General Peter van Uhm, accepted the Geuzen Medal in Vlaardingen today. The armed forces received the award for promoting Development, Diplomacy and Defence during various peace missions.
This so-called 3D strategy was implemented in Uruzgan in particular. The prestigious award also went to the Afghan human rights activist Dr Sima Samar. This 25th award ceremony for the Geuzen Medal was attended by Prince Willem-Alexander.
“The Geuzen Medal has not been awarded to me personally, but to the armed forces as a whole. To each and every one of the Dutch soldiers. I am grateful for the recognition of and appreciation for our work at this high level”, said Van Uhm. The general was accompanied to the Grote Kerk in Vlaardingen by four soldiers, one from each Service, each with an extraordinary story. In a moving speech, Van Uhm outlined the diverse missions of the armed forces.
Although it is difficult to compare Dr Sima Samar and the Netherlands armed forces, according to Harry Borghouts, Chairman of the Geuzen Resistance 1940-1945 Foundation, they nonetheless have a great deal in common. “Both have fought for a country that is safe for everyone who lives there, for equal rights and against discrimination in Afghanistan. That is what binds these two laureates and what brought the Geuzen Resistance Foundation to this choice.”
There were various activities surrounding the award of the Geuzen Medal, such as a meeting on free press and women’s rights in the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam, a commemoration ceremony at Emaus cemetery and a wreath-laying ceremony at the Geuzen Monument in Vlaardingen. More than 700 schoolchildren were also involved in the ceremony. To mark the 25th anniversary of the medal, Prince Willem-Alexander was presented with the first copy of ‘Mensen recht doen. 25 jaar Geuzenpenning (1987-2011)’. This book gives a chronological overview of 25 years of Geuzen Medal awards.
The Geuzen Medal is awarded to individuals and organisations advocating human rights and fighting against dictatorship, discrimination and racism. Since 1987, the Geuzen Medal has been awarded to various individuals such as the Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt (2004), the Syrian human rights activist Haitham Maleh (2006) and organisations such as the International Campaign for Tibet (2005) and Human Rights Watch (2007).