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Community across North America involved with Royal Wedding

Seven Rusticus brothers off to Amsterdam

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

TORONTO / GRAND RAPIDS / VANCOUVER - The Dutch across North America recently banded together at parties, receptions and even a few gala events, all to locally join the celebration of the Royal Wedding in Amsterdam. Many of the parties were organized by local representatives of the Dutch government or in cooperation with them. In Toronto a group of more recently arrived Dutch expatriates held a gala event that was attended by hundreds of members of both the Dutch and the Argentian community. Some even used the occasion to take in the event by traveling to the Netherlands.

Events in which Dutch consulates-general or consulates were involved, usually already had a video tape on hand to show the Royal Wedding on a large screen. Kelly Broadcasting which markets BVN-tv service by satellite in the U.S.A., recorded the coverage and distributed the videos by courier throughout North America that day. BVN, a joint venture of Dutch and Flemish broadcasters, supplied videos to consulates in many countries.

Gauging the number of phone and email inquiries for information received at the Windmill Herald office about the Royal Wedding, the community’s interest in the event could be called fairly significant. Dutch clubs and delis also noticed that the event was attracting its share of interest. A number of Dutch import stores and deli outlets promoted their own tie-in to the Royal Wedding and reported much higher customer traffic that day. In at least one store a keen interest was noted for the wedding among young shoppers.

Most Dutch daily newspapers published a Royal Wedding supplement, some dailies even rushed an extra edition to the press for Saturday late afternoon delivery. The Netherlands Board of Tourism even plans to incorporate the Royal Wedding in its promotional material this year. 

Journey home

For the seven Rusticus brothers (six reside in the Grand Rapids vicinity in Michigan, Frank lives in Maryland) the Royal Wedding became the ultimate reason to go for a week-long holiday to the Netherlands, to share in the excitement and the national joy. They had been wanting to go in the off-season for some time, but when Eilof R. Rusticus (65) read about the upcoming Royal Wedding he polled his brothers with his idea of helping the royal couple celebrate their special day. They all agreed, including Roland who is the family’s U.S.-born sibling.

Eilof admits they in all likelihood would have seen more of the event had they stayed away from Amsterdam and just watched it on television. They did manage however, to get a glimpse of the golden coach. To actually see the marechausees in action, was an unexpected bonus to the brothers. 

The brothers visited all the places where they had lived before emigrating to Grand Rapids in 1950, including Doetichem and Apeldoorn where their father Ybe had served as a marechaussee. They also called on the Marechaussee Museum at Buren where the ‘opperwachtmeester’s’ uniform of Rusticus Sr. is stored (their father only died a few years ago at age 95). A cousin took them to places of interest in earlier family history in northeast Fryslan.

All seven had visited the Netherlands before, although most of them were in their pre-teens when they left the Netherlands. Two years ago, twenty-five members, including five brothers, of the family joined Eilof and his wife Harriet on a tour to the Netherlands and Obergammergau.