Of tulips and Himalayas

Wilko Verbakel


Nepal has not been forgotten by the Dutch audience! Last weekend, more than 600 people attended the yearly Nepal Day in the Netherlands. At this day, they could enjoy Nepalis documentaries, slide shows, music and dance. Visitors also went to the information market where 10 different NGO’s raised money for their projects in Nepal. Nepal Day, organised for the 13th time already, was a joint effort of International Council for Friends of Nepal (ICFON) and Nepal Development Academy (NDA), two Dutch NGO’s that support educational development projects and provide data about Nepal in the Netherlands.

Nepal Day started with a film about life and culture in Lo Manthang. Like all other programme items, so many people were interested that some had to return disappointed after 300 people filled the movie hall. Other programmes included slide shows of different mountaineous regions, a film on the first Dutch expedition in Nepal in 1967, classical Nepali music and folk music with Nepali dance by Nepalis musicians living in the Netherlands. Video clips by the famous band Nepathya were presented. A documentary of the 2004 music tour by Nepathya was also screened.

Ambassador of Nepal in Belgium Mr Thapa, the honorary consul of Nepal, Mr Cas de Stoppelaar, Mr Shashi Paudyal from NDA and myself from ICFON, answered queries on the present political situation in Nepal. The consul explained that tourists don’t need to fear going to Nepal as they are not harmed by any of the conflicting parties. Nepal Day, which clearly showed the concern of the Dutch audience for the Nepalis people, concluded with a Dutch version of Nepal’s famous dal bhat: less spicy and lacking the special Asian herbs. To enjoy the real food, these people have to visit Nepal again for sure!

(Wilko Verbakel is treasurer of International Council for Friends Of Nepal (www.icfon.nl) and one of the regular organisers of Nepal Day in the Netherlands)