Editorial: Making October 10 a National Holiday on St. Maarten

POSTED: 10/11/13 2:11 PM

The call for making October 10 a national holiday has some merit. St. Maarten has more with the date it obtained autonomy in the Kingdom than with the meaningless Kingdom Day on December 15. Yet the latter date is a day off, and so far October 10 is not.

In Curacao, October 10 has been declared Day of Curacao and it is a public holiday – though there are no special celebrations on that day.

Aruba obtained status aparte on January 1, 1986 – but it has not made this date a national holiday. Instead, after the death of the island’s strongest proponent of independence Betico Croes in the same year, the country named him Libertador di Aruba. His birth date – January 25 – is on Aruba’s list of national holidays.

The Netherlands celebrates this year the 200th anniversary of the Kingdom, but there is not a specific historic date to pinpoint its exact date of birth. On November 20, 1813 Prince William of Orange landed at the beach in Scheveningen, marking the end of the French occupation. On March 16, 1815 he pronounced himself king, and on September 21 of that year he was crowned in Brussels as king of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and Belgium.

None of these dates are national holidays. Instead, the Dutch celebrate Liberation Day on May 5 – the date in 1945 when the German occupation ended.

In St. Maarten we could still go for March 23 (when the partition Treaty of Concordia was signed), for July 24 (birth date Claude Wathey) or, indeed, for October 10, the date that marks the island’s liberation from Curacao – but not from the Netherlands.

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