Bhutanese Community in The Netherlands (BCN) successfully organised one day excursion cum educational tour at a Dutch Open Air Prehistoric Museum in Arnhem, a Dutch City on the border with Germany on 22 July 2019.
Resettled Bhutanese (formerly refugees) who are now permanently resettled in various parts of the Netherlands gathered at 2 locations where a double decker bus picked them and traveled them towards Arnhem.
Purpose and objectives of this excursion:
- To watch and learn about the ancient/historical/civilisational aspects of Netherlands and its citizens.
- To give opportunity to our elderly members to come together and connect their earlier lives with that of ancient Netherlands lives.
- To refresh and entertain our elderly community members.
- To provide a platform for all our young and old community members to interact and enjoy a day together.
- Travelling together with songs and dances onboard the bus can become an interesting part.
- Eating together on the open ground sharing foods and other delicious items among the community participants can be more interesting.
- This excursion can also play an additional role for the effective integration of our community members to the local dutch society.
Around 70 Bhutanese Community members including many senior members, youngsters, children and adults reached the museum after travelling for around 2 hours together with dancing and singing onboard.
At the venue two of our Dutch supporters Henk and Mariam were already waiting for us with all information and 4 guides to take us around the museum. We divided ourselves into 4 groups and each group was led by a group leader and a Dutch guide. After some group greetings and photography all the 4 groups each escorted by the hired guides entered the entrance of the museum. After 2 hours of guided tours watching major parts of the museum all the group gathered at the open air picnic location where our dutch guides left us to continue ourselves our further programs.
During the 2 hours of the guided tour we were shown the following wonderful historical places of our interest among others:-
- How Dutch pumped sea water to make their country as most part of the land was then covered by water.
- The living condition of Dutch people before 200 years in a house with cattle on sides, firewood kitchen, small bed with a tiny toilet outside etc.
- Thatched roofed house with no ceilings without windows where dutch used to live till 1800 ad.
- Huge wind mills that was used to pump the water out were the most attractive parts.
- Health centres that was used as hospitals during early 1900 was wonderful.
- Cafes, restaurants, transportation and telecommunication systems that was used before 200 years by the dutch people were really impressive.
- Raising cattle, milking cows, making curds and butter etc during 1600 ad resembles the present lives of people in our former country.
- Washing clothes, cooking food, farming etc before 200 years ago was interesting and worth watching.
- Doctors, Nurses and other health workers working using primitive method of medical practices were equally wonderful to experience.
- Labourers room where one bed is used in two shifts one sleep during day time while other is away for work and other sleeps at night when other goes for work.
The open air museum was established on 24 April 1912 and open to the public from July 1918 is about 44 hectares in area and includes buildings from various places and historical periods. It takes 3 days to completely see the museum as per our guide.
The second part of the program was full of entertainment and delicious lunch where each household brought their own food of preferences. Every one shared their varieties of meal to eachother and became a grand party.
A separate cultural event with dances from almost every participants amused the event which propelled even the elderly community members to dance in the music of their own choice. Many elderly members enjoyed dancing in Hey Krishna captioned bhajan.
Later speaking to the mozgar and other facebook live streaming senior community members expressed their deep appreciation towards the BCN organiser for organizing such a wonderful event. They expressed their overjoyed for being able to see and experience the ancient living condition of the Dutch People. “Our life back in Bhutan during 1990s was almost similar to the Dutch lives of 200 years ago”. said Mr.Padam Basnet, one of the elderly participant. He further expressed his hope that BCN will continue organizing such excellent programs in future too and thanked the organiser.
82 years old community member Mrs. Pabitra Khadka said “it is the best program i have ever participated in my whole life”, she further said almost ten years she has been living in The Netherlands and almost all the time she lived indoor but with this BCN excursion she got an opportunity to travel in large numbers in a bus, watching familiar things in the museum and later dancing and eating together in a large open space. “BCN has done an excellent job for older people like me and now I am enjoying dancing with other fellow friends without getting tired, in spite of walking around in the park for some hours” said excited Mrs. Khadka.
Speaking on facebook live with BCN President Mr. Ram Karki community elders like Harka Bahadur Rai, Mrs. Nar Maya Budhathoki, Mr. Kanshi Nath Khanal, Mrs and Mr Dasarath Bastola, Mr. and Mrs. LB Basnet, Mr. and Mrs Devi Charan Basnet, Mrs. Krishna Maya Gurung and others expressed their happiness and appreciation for being able to participate in such a fantastic excursion and expressed their gratefulness to the organiser BCN.
Other participants coming from all over the Netherlands expressed their happiness and gratefulness for being able to be a part of this historic excursion and thanked BCN for organizing this successful event.
Speaking on the concluding session of the program the event coordinator and BCN CC member Mr. Gopal Gurung expressed his pleasure for being able to successfully organise the excursion in more then expected manner and extended thanks to everyone for cooperating and participating in a disciplined manner. He thanked the Dutch couple Henk en Mariam for arranging everything including the guides for the open park museum and for guiding us minutely inside the park. BCN President Mr. Ram Karki and BCN founder Mr. Aiman Samal, Guest invitees Mrs. Rita Thapa, Mr. Raju Tamu, Mr and Mrs. Henk van velden also spoke briefly on the occasion. Special thanks was also extended to Madam Ariette and Sir Marco (could not participate due to their work) for providing all kinds of support to make this excursion possible.