“Together we will take a moment to remember how this year has changed us individually and the world as a whole”, Groningen with Ukraine’s members shared in a press release.
The event will start at 16:00 at the Grote Markt on Friday, 24 February. The demonstration will feature speeches by members of the Ukrainian community in the north, representatives from volunteer organisations and cultural performances “that showcase the rich traditions and heritage of Ukraine.” There will also be vendors on hand selling Ukrainian-made crafts and home-made borscht and pastries.
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Groningen with Ukraine says that the event is a moment to advocate for peace, call for continued support from the international community, honour the memory of the victims of the ongoing war in Ukraine, and to share their gratitude toward the people of the Netherlands and Groningen in particular for their hospitality over the past year.
Recent reporting from the Leeuwarder Courant stated that the three northern provinces are currently hosting more than 9,300 Ukrainian refugees: the municipality of Veendam in Groningen province, Meppel in Drenthe and Terschelling in Friesland have the highest number per 1,000 residents. According to the newspaper, Drenthe is the Dutch province with the second-most Ukrainian refugees.
Most of the Ukrainians in the Netherlands currently are women and children: nearly 30 percent of the refugees who fled the Russian invasion are younger than 18. As of January 2023, there are around 1,930 Ukrainian children enrolled at primary and secondary schools in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland.
Earlier this week, DvhN also reported on a bullet hole-riddled ambulance that was on display in the city centers of Groningen and Leeuwarden: the emergency vehicle is part of an effort called Zeilen van Vrijheid, which provides ambulances from abroad to Ukraine. The ambulance was damaged by artillery fire in the city of Chuhuiv in September. The goal of the travelling exhibition is to make the war feel more immediate and tangible for European residents living far from the front lines.