Laudatio Adolf Kock

Laudatio voor Adolf Kock - Zilveren Anjer 2022

Dames en heren, we gaan nu met onze uitreiking over in het Engels, de taal van onze volgende laureaat, Adolf Kock. En u kunt mijn woorden volgen in het Nederlands met de tekst die u uitgereikt kreeg met het programmaboekje. U kunt deze envelop nu openmaken.

Vanaf hier in het Engels verder: 

Mr. Kock, dear Dufi, first of all: welcome to The Netherlands! This is your first visit to this part of our Kingdom and I must say, you are doing it right: your first appointment is with Princess Beatrix at the Royal Palace Amsterdam!

But you absolutely earned your right to be here today to receive the Zilveren Anjer. You bring the history of Aruba to life. You collect, tell and disseminate stories about the historical richness and beauty of your island. With thorough research, always tenacious, and a positive mind. And with a lot of love for the island, your island of Aruba.

You share the knowledge you acquire with everyone who can use it, with those who can take it even further. With historians, researchers, writers and students. So that it is recorded, enriched and lasts for generations.

And we have heared that sharing your knowledge and helping people further has always been part of you: lending people a helping hand, organizing information, sharing knowledge. As a young studious boy, who had to start earning money for the family at a young age, you worked your way up to training coordinator at the Lago oil refinery. You remained employed there for 35 years. And that is where the knowledge transfer already started with the young people you trained there. You were a self-made coach there. And after your career you also applied that 'self-made' attitude by recording of the hidden witnesses of the history of Aruba.

You wrote several historical books, after very thorough archival research. With various subjects, such as the first permanent residents of Aruba and the archaeological traces they left behind. Or a book about Savaneta, the first capital of the island, which is also your hometown.

The Second World War has captured your special attention. In the search for the stories about Aruba in those years, your old employer also came back into the picture, through an intriguing story of the attack on the Lago Refinery at the time.

And you not only tell the stories, but also ensure that all associated 'evidence' is secured. Such as the salvage of the propeller of the tanker Oranjestad of the Lago Refinery, the ship that was sunk during the Second World War. Your photo collection is also very noteworthy, there are no fewer than 1 million, a staggering number, from the early years of 1800 to the present. Accurately filed by subject: the history of agriculture, entertainment, music, dance, archaeology, homes, flora & fauna, food culture and architecture. And many of these photos - real photos, not digital - you donated to the National Archives, among others. And that is of course invaluable for such an institute, and therefore for the national memory of Aruba.

Because with your selfless efforts - the research, the stories, the photos, the objects - you provide a complete picture of the history of Aruba. And that fascinating and important history should be shared as much as possible in your opinion. You therefore give lectures at schools and associations, help young people with academic theses and papers, writers with manuscripts and historians with their research.

You have a wide reach: with a lively Facebook page on which you are very active, you are a worldwide source of information. You provide historical information not only to the people of Aruba, but to people all over the world.

You have translated your love for Aruba into a major contribution to the preservation of the Aruban cultural heritage. With full dedication, for these past 35 years. American author Heather Arnold – whom you helped with her research and became friends with - wrote to us in her letter of recommendation: “His legacy will live on long after we are gone (…)”. I couldn't say it any better.

We are very happy to add an extra silver lining to your visit to the Netherlands and your appointment with Princess Beatrix here at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.

Therefore, Mr. Kock, I would like to ask you to come to the podium to receive the Zilveren Anjer.

And your Royal Highness Princess Beatrix, may I ask you to come to the podium as well to present the Zilveren Anjer on behalf of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund to Mr. Adolf Kock.