Speech 2006 Gerrit Staal 10.000 th bottle

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this presentation of the number 10.000 bottle Airborne Beer. A special welcome to our special guest Mr. Antoni Fedorowicz. Nice to meet you here in Oosterbeek.

It is already the third time in this Airborne Museum and I can say that this event will be very special. For this reason I have choosen for special intention to dedicate this unique bottle. The second last presentation, two years ago, was held due to the 60th commemoration with the British veteran Frank Newhouse and the Queen’s Commissionar of Gelderland.

At the introduction of Airborne Beer, seven years ago, with the former burgomaster, Mr. Verlinden I could not suggest that I should be back here with such a good sales and – more important – such an excellent benefit for the Lest we forget Foundation; almost 5.000 euro. From the very beginning of the Airborne Beer history I experienced that good contacts and cooperation are very important to succeed in reaching the task.

From this place I can mention the help and advices of Aart van der Linde, who is the brewer of this exclusive product, Arie Visser, the husband of my cousin, who designed several labels for Airborne Beer including the 10.000 one, The Airborne Museum for their help, such like the possibilities for organising presentations, The Lest we forget Foundation, who is willing to receive the benifits of this project (it’s not a very difficult one, but nevertheless they spend the money for the veterans, what this project is aiming at), the shops in this environment who are a very essential link to the customers. I really wondered their enthousiasm in presenting this beer and I am impressed about the window dressing of some of them. I also want to mention the support of the Arnhem veterans and their messages about the project in their Newsletter. And last but not least, I would surely not forget the lovely assistance of my wife Esther Johanna!

Now more about todays presentation of number 10.000. Last May the Polish Airbornes of Arnhem 1944 have been awarded by our Dutch Queen. It has been the occurrence that I devised the plan to dedicate this special bottle to the Polish Airborne Forces in the Battle of Arnhem. This version 10.000 is executed in the Polish language. I am happy that the Polish veterans appreciate this ode to them. It is a clear example of the Beers theme `A bridge to the next generation’.

I am thankfull to Mr. Baltussen of the Driel Polen Comittee for inviting Mr. Antoni Fedorowicz. I am sure he’s one of the best representatives of the Polish Airbornes. Besides his participation in the Battle of Arnhem, he is still a very active man for this matter. He is one of the founder members of the Leeds Branche of the Polish Airborne Forces Association and for the last 36 years he is chairman of this organisation.

But however his impressive experience Mr. Baltussen told me he identified one disadvantage. Ladies and gentleman don’t frighten. Mr Baltussen told me that Antoni doesn’t like beer! Nevertheless, I won’t hesitate any moment! This special bottle, this ode for the Polish is not intend to drink empty. And with the invitation of Antoni I am reassured this beer won’t be consumed and will remain as a very small monument.

This is not a matter of course, while I know a veteran who told me every year during the commemoration he bought a nice bottle to decorate his room. He went back to the UK, arrived home and long before Christmas, the bottle was already empty.

Ladies and gentlemen, I came to my conclusions and I would ask the burgomaster, Mr. Bruinooge, to start the ceremony.

Thank you for your attention!