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More than 300 guests gathered on 28 February in Amsterdam to participate in the National Closing Event of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in the Netherlands. Representatives from various generations, cultures and interests attended an all-day programme of films, presentations, performances and debates organised by the Dutch Informal Network involved in the celebration of the European Year 2012.
Former Health, Welfare and Sports minister Hedy d'Ancona chaired the inspiring event, which took place at the new EYE Film Museum under the title "Forever Young" and also included an online Twitter debate, organised by European MP Lambert van Nistelrooij under the hashtag #ActiveAgeing,
The day started with the première of the film A Late Quartet and ended with the screening of the documentary Now or Never (Nu of Nooit) and a live stage performance of some songs from the play by young and old singers. In between the two movies, several presentations and debates shed light on the Dutch involvement in the European Year 2012 and some of the challenges ahead.
In the morning debate, former State Secretary Marlies Veldhuijzen van Zanten called for new and innovative attitudes that extend beyond the formal debate on the cost of the care system. “I don't want to simplify things, but it is up to active citizens to make a real change. For 30 years I worked in a nursing home and I know the sadness of too many people having no one to take care for them in the final phase of their life. Our society must deal with this”, she said.
Young unionist Dennis Wiersma, from FNV Jong, criticised insufficient awareness of the cost of care and urged for a powerful dialogue and debate between generations. On the other hand, representatives from the professional care sector (Guus Bannenberg and Danielle Harkes) said that a knee or hip replacement, for example, is a good investment in any older person in order to remain active. Solutions must be found somewhere else, rather than questioning the cost of care. What can old and young people do for each other in the local informal sphere? they asked.
Marc van der Schee, from the National Think Tank, pleaded for more prevention and a proactive attitude to make the Dutch population the healthiest in the world again.
The afternoon programme started with a video message from Paul Timmers, from the European Commission Directorate General Connect, who referred to the EU Innovation Partnership for healthy and active ageing, in which more than 3,000 partners cooperate all over Europe. Andy Klom, head of the EC Representation in the Netherlands, congratulated the Dutch NGOs on their active involvement in EU programmes and presented the awards to the three national winners of the European Year 2012 Awards.
The event also offered a wide perspective on the Dutch participation in the EY2012, with presentations of best practices in the area of sustainable workability and employability of older workers, healthy ageing campaigns, the new Generation Lab in the Netherlands and some of the high-tech projects seen at the AAL Forum 2012 in Eindhoven.
Picture gallery of the event.
Click here to browse through a selection of EY2012-related initiatives in the Netherlands.
For more information about the European Year 2012 in the Netherlands you may visit this website.