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December is a month of reflection and celebration. December is also the month of one of the most special Christmas celebrations in Maastricht. At a time when we all realize that the world is changing, the service in De Schark on December 24 is a moment to reflect on the past and the men who fought for the Netherlands and for our freedom. It is also a time to look ahead and continue to see the good in people, especially at a time of refugee flows and terrible events that touch our hearts.

In the De Schark quarry 71 years ago, Christmas was celebrated together in an impressive and dignified way: residents of the city, soldiers and of course the Brothers of De Beyart. The Brothers not only provided a space, but they also opened their hearts. They brought people together with words. Even today, let's all keep talking to each other, disagree with each other, but always want to enter into a dialogue. Only with mutual understanding and respect for each other can we continue to look each other straight in the eye.

The history of De Schark is the history of Maastricht. I think of our liberators with sincere thanks and great respect.


Burgemeester Penn

Mw Annemarie Penn-te Strake, Mayor of Maastricht from 1.7.2015 to 1.7.2023.
Patron of the American Christmas 1944 Memorial Foundation