October 16, 2019

Korea Celebrates National Day

H.E. Mr. Kevin Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland, H.E. Mr Sallah Ben Abdelkader Hamza, Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire, H.E. Mr. Yun Young Lee, Ambassador of Korea and a guest.

Text and pictures by Katherine Dailey.

His Excellency Mr. Yun Young Lee, the Republic of South Korea’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, welcomed hundreds of guests to the well cared for grounds of his official residence on Wednesday, October 2nd, in celebration of Korea’s National Day.  

His Excellency Mr. Yun Young Lee Ambassador of Korea and members of his staff.

Included among the ambassador’s three hundred plus guests were the ambassadors of Ireland, Venezuela, the Holy See, Iran, Kazakhstan, Italy, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Bangladesh and many more. 

Korean girls.

Military attaches from the Netherlands, as well as other European countries, were also present. Members of the ambassador’s diplomatic staff and their families, many of whom donned traditional attire for the occasion, supported Ambassador Yun Young Lee by extending warm Korean hospitality to his international guests.  

Representatives from the Dutch government, former Dutch ambassadors, representatives from both the municipalities of Wassenaar and The Hague, representatives from some of Korea’s partners in trade, members of the Dutch-Korean community in the Netherlands, academics and other friends of Korea were present as well.

Dutch veterans, from the Seventeen State International Force, which supported the Republic of South Korea (ROK), as part of the United Nations Command (UNC) in the early 1950s.

A small, but hardy group of Dutch veterans, were honoured at the event for having served in a Seventeen State International Force, which supported the Republic of South Korea (ROK), as part of the United Nations Command (UNC) in the early 1950s. The veterans were prominently seated near the podium for the standing room only event. 

An enormous pavilion, placed on the parklike grounds of the Residence, sheltered guests and added to the day’s festive atmosphere. 

Ambassador Yun Young Lee welcomed his guests, spoke briefly and opened the cultural program which included a captivating Taekwondo martial arts demonstration. Taekwondo, as demonstrated by both Korean and Dutch men and women skilled in various Korean martial arts traditions, especially enthralled some of the younger guests. Some are likely to have been inspired to take up Taekwondo which, since 2000,  have become an official competitive event at the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Taekwondo at Korean National Day.

After the formal program concluded, His Excellency invited his guests to a buffet and traditional Korean BBQ of Bulgogi (thinly sliced marinated beef), Dakgangjeong (sweet crispy Korean fried chicken), Geotjeori  (fresh kimchi) and other popular national dishes.

Two smaller pavilions served as a BBQ station and outdoor kiosk for distributing tourism information. Some guests were introduced to “Tuho”, a traditional Korean game of “Pitch-pot,” for the first time.

Ambassador Lee and His Excellency Andrea Perugini, Ambassador of Italy.

Anyone who may be considering a trip to the Republic of Korea are especially well positioned to do so from the Netherlands. Both Korean Air and KLM offer daily non-stop flights to Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN), one of the largest and busiest airports in the world.

Incheon has been consistently rated by SKYTRAX, as the best airportin the world transit passengers.

Joan McNamara and Mrs. Lee in national dress.

With four distinct seasons; 2,413 kilometers of coastline along three seas; thirteen cultural heritage sites and one natural heritage site, there is plenty to experience for everyone who is keen to “Imagine Your Korea”and plan a visit.  Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries (2018) and Seowon, Korean Neo-Confucian Academies (2019) are the two most recent additions to the list.

UNESCO also has separate programs called the “Intangible Hertitage of Humanity” and “Memory of the World” further expanding Korea’s contributions to humanity.

 Ambassador Yun Yang Lee’s successful National Day Program offered something of interest to everyone who attended, leaving them with better understanding of the country and the people.  Korea’s National Day, as celebrated in The Hague, served to spark an interest, which was shared by many, to visit the Republic of Korea in the near future.

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