50th Anniversary Family Day
Brunssum, Netherlands – Following the formal elements of the 50th anniversary celebrations yesterday (parade, reception and monument unveiling) an eclectic range of activities commenced in the Brunssum Vijverpark embracing a central theme of family entertainment.
Bus tours were conducted of the NATO base. Of necessity, this was not spontaneous but a carefully planned activity that allowed local people to sign up in advance to a maximum capacity of 600 available seats. This proved extremely popular. Those lucky enough to secure a seat were first briefed on the enduring role of NATO, and JFC Brunssum's particular responsibilities, before being subjected to a security search and boarding buses. Once on the buses a tour of the base commenced that included a running commentary of the use of the different buildings and those left that date back to the site's previous use as a coal mine.
The Vijverpark itself was bubbling with activity. Following short remarks by Commander JFC Brunssum, General Salvatore Farina, and Mayor Luc Winants, an international food market (representing 16 Alliance member nations) opened, providing delicacies free of charge to the public. At the same time, amongst other serials: a diving demonstration was conducted in the lake; the Dutch marines provided a climbing wall for the more adventurous to try; military vehicles were on display; local veterans organisations were selling patches and memorabilia; a disco provided background music; live musical acts rotated; a mini assault course was made available; and, sports facilities were provided for youngsters. The evening concluded with an outstanding concert by the Royal Netherlands Air Force band who played a programme of popular music free of charge.
All in all, this was an outstanding event that attracted large numbers of people and provided a platform for NATO personnel to interact with the public, and the public to interact with NATO personnel and their families, to the benefit of all. The relationship between NATO and its host town of Brunssum is one of mutual respect and it is stronger than ever.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office