'To the Netherlands'

A la Hollande.jpg
A la Hollande.jpg

Description

Poem written on a postcard, in which 'a Belgian refugee' thanks the Netherlands for its hospitality.

Context

From October 1914, no less than one million Belgian refugees fled to their neutral neighbour in the north, the Netherlands. While many returned home in 1915, 200,000 Belgians remained in the Netherlands until the end of the war. The poem illustrates the Belgians' gratitude for their Dutch hospitality. However, the large number of refugees did also lead to strained relations between the Belgians and the Dutch over issues such as food supply and housing. While Belgian soldiers were, in accordance with Dutch neutrality, disarmed and interned in POW camps like Amersfoort, Belgian citizens were held in 'Belgian camps' and with Dutch families.