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Wednesday, 30 January 2013 09:48

 

AMSTERDAM — Child psychiatrist Glenn Helberg, who is also chairman of the Consultative Body Caribbean Dutch Citizens (OCaN), was appointed Companion of the Order of Orange-Nassau yesterday. “It seems like someone in The Hague had first placed her signature and them announced her departure with confidence”, said deputy mayor of Amsterdam, Andree van Es, referring to the departure of Queen Beatrix. “ Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint you Companion of the Order of Orange-Nassau.”Helberg was taken by surprise with the honor after the performance Genial Anarchy in the Amsterdam Paradiso, in which he played the role of politician. Without the faintest idea and still enjoying the closing number and the applause, he looked up when Van Es requested director John Leerdam to approach the podium; it only dawned on him when his name was mentioned.

 

Helberg received the honor for his continuous battle against discrimination, by pointing out the valuable contribution of people from the former Antilles and Aruba through their good characteristics and talents. Furthermore, he has an unbridled dedication to make taboo subjects discussable. For years, as chairman of the OCaN, he pointed out the importance of fathers raising children, which eventually led to a Lower Chamber motion for the registration of fathers. Helberg also took the initiative for the Stop the Violence March and a protest against violence among Antilleans and for the Caribbean community in the Netherlands joining the Gay Canal Parade in Amsterdam.

Van Es also mentioned Helberg’s membership of the Advisory Council for the Human Rights and of the so-called Zevenmanschap of the Council of Mayor and aldermen of Amsterdam, an independent organization striving for more tolerance in the city. “I personally experienced how during an action for more courtesy in the public transportation Glenn tirelessly prompted the passengers of Amsterdam streetcars to treat each other more friendly”, said Van Es.

In his speech of thanks, Helberg expressed his appreciation for John Leerdam, who had recommended Helberg for the honor. During a previous meeting with the Queen he impressed upon him to observe the strict rules on associating with members of the Royal Family but that Queen Beatrix actually ignored the protocol. “After the toast was made, she immediately approached me to talk about Curaçao. An unbelievable woman.”