Even before the influx of refugees had started, Kees van Oorschot had already decided to offer art and culture to the Ukrainians who would end up in Hilversum. In doing so he gives them ‘oxygen of man’, as his winged expression goes. No sooner said than done. The director of Globe is now the local coordinator of the art and culture offer for the refugees.
In the Muziekcentrum van de Omroep (MCO), which is literally 15 meters away from the old VARA complex, Hilversums largest refugee reception location, it becomes clear that Van Oorschot has taken on a whole lot of extra work. His days are long. Often filled with consultations and a lot of arranging. But he does so without quibbling, because you are committed to people who have had to leave everything behind in haste because of war. Period.
Besides that people are taken care of, it is essential for him that there is more for the refugees than a roof over their heads, clothing and food. From his background, this means offering a wide range of art and culture. The needs of the refugees are always leading in this.
‘His’ counter is one of the seven counters, as Van Oorshot calls it, that have now been opened in Hilversum. Various ‘focus initiatives’ have emerged from the Hilversummers.nl platform, the central meeting point for people who want to help. This includes housing, food, education, work, belongings, sporting activities and cultural activities.
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Structure and overview are needed to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Van Oorschot wants to prevent an obscure jumble of cultural activities. That is why the resident of Wijdemeren has prematurely bombed himself to become the art and culture coordinator in Hilversum.
“People are needed in several areas. I decided to do this. Just because I can and because I think it is necessary,” explains the director of Globe. “It has to be streamlined. So make sure you have something to offer every week and not plan everything in one day,” he clarifies.
Hilversum already has a solid organization of the local professional art and culture sector. They are represented in the culture network. Van Oorschot immediately shared his idea to offer art and culture to the refugees, making it immediately widely known. Because he has already done this at an early stage, the institutions have been able to set the necessary steps in consultation. With Van Oorschot as supervisor of everything that passes by.
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“I have a whole mountain of offers from Hilversum in my folder”
According to the coordinator, the enthusiasm and willingness to give and to participate are very great. “I have a whole mountain of offers in my folder,” says Van Oorschot. “Now that control has arisen from the local platform, now is the time to be able to say: I want to do that.”
Little question yet
At the moment, the demand for activities from the refugee group is not yet great. Van Oorschot understands that very well. The refugees have left home and hearth. Often have had a grueling journey to flee their homeland. Try to catch your breath here first and arrange the most important things. The first group has just been in Hilversum for three weeks.
Respect for the situation and letting the Ukrainians set the pace are paramount. Russian and Ukrainian expats in Hilversum are already making an inventory of what is needed (in the long run). “We will see what we can do then. For the time being, I have said to everyone who wants to do something: keep the focus on the enthusiasm,” reports the coordinator.
Movies and Easter concert
All this provides time to set up a ‘sustainable organisation’: ensuring a diversified and broad range for the longer term. There is great enthusiasm for this in Hilversum. Participants vary from Globe itself to Sound and Vision and Filmtheater Hilversum and much more.
For example, every Saturday morning children’s films must be dubbed into Ukrainian, an Easter concert is already on the program in the MCO and the refugees can paint Easter eggs during Easter in the museum at the Media Park. These are just a few examples that Van Oorschot gives.
“I think it is important that the refugees feel that they are welcome”
Friday is considered the baptism of fire for the arts and culture organization. Then Globe itself provides an open stage in the MCO at Heuvellaan 33. Van Oorschot is happy that it takes place in ‘his’ own home, so that he can see how the organization stands for the refugees and then work on the weak spots.
Various amateur and professional musicians will perform on this open stage, including Van Oorschot himself with his Gipsy trio. He especially hopes that the Ukrainians living across the street will come by Friday evening. With the help of his Ukrainian coordinator – Nataliia Pshenychna – he is now having the posters for this event made with the text in Ukrainian, in addition to the already existing poster in Dutch. These will soon be hung on the windows of the MCO. “How nice is that? I think it is important that the refugees feel that they are welcome,” said the director of Globe.
The refugees themselves cannot participate this time, because registration for this musical event is closed. But in the future, Van Oorschot hopes that they will come and show their musical or poetic arts.