Today as I listened to the live broadcast of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announcing that, come April, she will be abdicating, I was surprised by my emotion.
Like many in the world today my ancestry is varied, though the name “Adan” is Scots in origin and it is this ancient cultural heritage with which I most readily identify. I was born of American parents who lived in Brazil at the time and as a matter of bureaucratic process received citizenship of both countries. After marrying a Canadian I moved with my new bride to the Netherlands where we were granted Dutch citizenship as well. At the moment I’m living in Canada and, if I so choose, will qualify for citizenship of this gracious land within a few short years, which would return me full circle to the status of my Scottish forebears with regard to allegiances to yet another queen.
In sum, when it comes to national identities, I am a child of the age. The multiple identities were not planned as such, I’ve simply learned to welcome the opportunities which came my way, wanting as much as possible to identify with the people among whom I lived, and not wishing to relinquish those ties when I moved on.
So what is it about Queen Beatrix abdicating that brings a tear to my eye? It may sound odd to my born and bred Dutch friends, but Beatrix is “my” queen. Her steadfast and compassionate service is an accurate reflection of the country which welcomed me and gave my family a home for nearly thirty years. With Beatrix stepping down another part of the Holland I embraced, and which so warmly returned the embrace, is disappearing into history. And that makes me sad.