Despite political and social changes:
DBU continues to make contributions
Ambassador of Netherlands

Throughout centuries, the relationship between Sri Lanka and the Netherlands has developed into one of cordiality and mutual assistance and respect, Ambassador for the Netherlands Leoni Cuelenaere said yesterday.

Speaking at a ceremony to issue a new postage stamp to commemorate the centenary of the Dutch Burgher Union of Ceylon, she said: "As in the past, also today, culture is highly relevant for both countries."

In the recent past, cultural projects were implemented to enrich the cultural and tourist attraction of major heritage sites in the southern region of Sri Lanka, she said.

The Ambassador said that Burgher culture appeared to be a rich mixture of east and west. "Thanks to a small, but steady influx of newcomers from Europe with their families, who had settled in the island for generations. Thanks to this, also the Burgher community was able to retain its open character and its diverse cultural traditions."

She said that the Dutch Burgher Union has continued to make its contributions despite political and social changes that took place during the past century.

"As I understood, nowadays the beautiful and characteristic building of the DBU is also being used for various activities related to the Dutch Association in Sri Lanka, as well as the Netherlands Embassy. I hope that in future, as in the past, this building will help to bring about more social intercourse among members of the community," she added.

She thanked Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mahinda Wijesekara, the DBU and the Philatelic Bureau for giving due recognition to the importance of celebrating the jubilee year with a stamp.

She added that in many countries it was not that easy to get a special commemorative stamp and a First Day Cover to mark an event of national importance. "I personally believe that DBU is very fortunate to have this rare opportunity and at the same time I believe that DBU really deserves it."

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