Amsterdam gives big for St. Maarten

AMSTERDAM–The Municipality Amsterdam has made 850,000 euros available to assist the ravaged St. Maarten.
Amsterdam, the largest city in the Netherlands, announced on Thursday that it is donating an amount more or less equal to its number of residents. Amsterdam has offered support both financially and through expertise to help rebuild the island.

Amsterdam experts are willing to contribute in areas like sustainable urban development, water management, education, heritage and healthcare.
“Amsterdam already has a cooperation structure in place with St. Maarten for several years and that is why we want to contribute to the reconstruction. Amsterdam and St. Maarten have a long history and share friendship. Many of our residents have roots in St. Maarten,” it was stated in a press release.
So far, 14 other municipalities have made donations to the Red Cross which coordinates the national collection drive “The Netherlands helps St. Maarten.” Some municipalities opted to give an exact figure like Maastricht and Overbetuwe, each 50,000 euros. Or Lelystad and Dronten, each 40,000 euros, and Aalten with 13,500 euros, and Oisterwijk and Terneuzen with 10,000 euros each.
Some municipalities donated one euro per resident. Zeist for example donated 62,894 euros, Waalwijk 47,427 euros, Hillegon 21,486 euros, Bunnik 15,211 euros, Appingendam 11,971 euros, Simpelveld 10,571 euros and the small town Ten Boer 7,272 euros. The Frisian Islands together donated 10,000 euros. Together the municipalities donated more than 1.2 million euros.
Meanwhile, infrastructure specialist company Vialis of the Dutch construction firm Royal VolkerWessels has started a collection drive to purchase and transport construction material to rebuild homes in St. Maarten. Vialis aims to assist in repairing at least 500 homes.
This Vialis initiative will be executed in close cooperation with local contractors. The contractors will indicate which materials they need and will use their local network to determine this. The intention is to have all construction material distributed in January 2018.
One other remarkable collection initiative for St. Maarten is the one of 30 Dutch top chefs who will be cooking a special lunch in the grand ballroom of the fancy Hotel Okura in Amsterdam on October 1. All funds collected at the largest Michelin Chef’s Table of the Netherlands titled the “St. Maarten’s Chef Table” for this occasion will go to the Red Cross for St. Maarten.
Thirty chef’s tables will be set up at the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Okura with ten persons each. A five-course meal will be served for 3,000 euros per table. Participating top restaurants include: De Librije, De Lindenhof, Ciel Bleu, Bord’Eau, ’t Nonnetje, Bridges, Vermeer, De Nederlanden as well as the first three-star chef of the Netherlands Cees Helder.
Many of the participating top chefs have cooked at the past ten editions of St. Maarten’s gastronomic event Fête de la Cuisine, organised by Henry Brookson. The top chefs got to know and appreciate the island, its people and their overseas colleague chefs. A lottery and auction will also be held on October 1 with all proceeds going to St. Maarten.
Financial support is also coming from other remarkable sources like the Chinese beverage HaoTian of the TianChen Corporation. The beverage company donated 100,000 yuan (more than 12,500 euros) to St. Maarten via Curaçao Minister Plenipotentiary Anthony Begina. HaoTian is the first Chinese company with a listing on the Dutch Caribbean Stock Exchange DCSX in Curaçao.
The Red Cross announced on Friday that the national collection drive “The Netherlands helps St. Maarten“ has yielded close to 15.5 million euros so far. After the national collection day last week Friday, the amount stood at 13.3 million euros.
The collection drive continues. Much needed relief supplies are bought with the funds and transported to St. Maarten via Curaçao.

Source: The Daily Herald