What the 'MOD Dagen' is all about
The 'MOD (Militare Oorlogs- en Dienstlachtoffer) Dagen' are events which are especially organised (with help from the the Dutch Ministry of Defence and the APG) for the recognition and appreciation to those members of the Dutch Armed Forces who were injured whilst in the line of duty, whether whilst serving at their home base or on operations.
For those persons who fell victim of injury, about 70% were injured during their normal line of duty and about 30% whilst on operations. Once every two years, these persons receive an invitation for one of these events. It's always been a day to look forward to for the guests and a chance for those organising these days, to show the guests that they are appreciated.
The way these days are 'normally' planned, is best described as 'a day out'. The guests are received at a specially selected location for the day, welcomed and throughout the day, served with refreshments, a buffet meal and organised entertainment and activities. For most, it serves as a bit of a 'reunion' and if not reunited with some old colleagues, then it is a chance to have a chat and a laugh with some other serving/ex-serving members of the Dutch Armed Forces.
Being a part of these events and having the opportunity to work for the wonderful people who make up the target audience of these days, are both an honour and a humbling experience. As a veteran myself, I am proud to be part of a team who dedicates its time, efforts and vision to ensure that the guests on these days, feel recognised and appreciated. I am even more proud of living in a country who's Ministry of Defence goes to such lengths to show their appreciation to their servicemen and woman.
why were the 2020 eventS different?
The 2020 days were planned as normal and looked forward to by all with great excitement, but then... Covid-19 happened...
First the 2020 events were delayed by almost 6 months, hoping that the pandemic would be under control so that the days could go ahead as planned. But... as you all know, this was not the case... With about 100 guests per day at these events, the reality was that social distancing would not be possible. The situation in the country first got better with the numbers of infections dropping greatly, but then it increased again and all events were banned (again). This year has been an emotional rollercoaster... Of course health and safety comes first, but for a great number of people it became a very lonely year due to the lack interaction and for businesses (especially in the restaurant and entertainment industry) it has been a nightmare...
I held my breath... thinking that these days were going to be cancelled... but then... the organisation and the genius planners surprised us all! In no time at all, they turned the live events into a 'live stream' version so that all the guests could still take part in what was planned for them, albeit from their couches at home.
Of course not ALL of the planned items could be delivered, but most of the entertainment was now streamed whilst the presenters (Jan Douwe Kroeske and Robert van den Bout AKA De Nieuwe Dominee) hosted the show and interviewed the guests - amongst whom was Colonel Ludy de Vos, the Managing Directors of the Veterans Institute.
Guests at home were still able to take part in the event by messaging in their questions and requests whilst the show was live.
It was a very different show than normal, and what we missed the most of all... was the interaction with our guests! The buzz of the day and the excitement when people recognise old friends. There is no live stream event in the world that can EVER take the place of being somewhere in person, but... we are incredibly thankful that, due to being able to make use of this technology, we were still able to all spend the day with the guests whom we are doing it all for.
I want to make use of this opportunity to thank a few of the people, without whose tireless efforts and endless energy and flexibility, this event would not have been possible:
- Maj Wesley van Woensel (Dutch Ministry of Defence Representative)
- Marcels Notermans - Event Manager
- Roy Schuurmans - Event Manager
- Esther Schuurmans - Event Manager
- Jan Douwe Kroeske - Presenter
- Robert van den Bout (De Nieuwe Dominee) - Presenter
- Harm de Kleine - Producer
This event would also not have been the same without the entertainment from:
- Evenlien & Marlies de Koning - Swing the Mood Bevrijdingstour
- Monique Groffen - Zandkunstenaar
- Armand Schreurs - Puppet Master
And last but not least... thank you to the technical geniuses from DEMO Productions and BAADJOU Film & Stage productions who, in a very short period of time, put together a professional production which run like clockwork!
Here's a few images of the 'behind the scenes' from the rehearsals and the live streaming, to give you an idea of all the moving parts which made this event possible: