Catalan celebrations in Groningen

Groningen hosts the most successful event ever for National Day of Catalonia

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Group of Catalans taking a picture on a bridge in Groningen

By Emily Howard and Martina Losi

Last Sunday, Catalans in Groningen celebrated the most popular Catalonian event, the National Day of Catalonia, to the surprise of Groningers and Catalans themselves.

September the 11th commemorates the day when the Spanish army defeated Catalan troops, leading to Catalonia falling under Spanish rule in 1714. This year, Catalan residents in Groningen organised a celebration themselves. Nine people gathered, and took a picture holding Catalan flags at an iconic Groningen landmark before having a picnic in the park.

“In recent years, these celebrations have had an extra political connotation, as Spanish central Government is not willing to recognise the Catalans rights and Catalan Government’s requests”, says Blanca Civit, a former resident of Groningen, who created the online group Catalans in Groningen in 2014.

“For non-Catalans, it might sound strange that we celebrate a lost historic battle against the old Spanish Kingdom. But now it’s all about getting our voices heard.”

This year, Blanca was surprised to hear about the success of the event, saying that gatherings are usually small or inexistent. There was no event last year, and in 2014 only 7 people showed up, despite the 300th anniversary of the battle.

Honestly I didnt expect that there was a meeting in Groningen, but I was happy to see that other Catalans that were there wanted to meet for the Diada,the National Day of Catalonia, says Isolda Cuesta, who attended on Sunday.

According to Sergi Trias Llimos, a Catalan student living in Groningen, the fact that many Catalan students are only in Groningen for a short period of time makes it hard to organise gatherings. It seems to me the group has been reactivated.

In Rotterdam, the National Assembly of Catalans in the Netherlands (ANC Nederland) celebrated early on the 9th September, inviting a member of the Catalan parliament to speak at the event.
Tapaseria Catalana, a restaurant in Groningen, was not aware of the event nor of the National Day of Catalonia. The Dutch owners told the MAJ that they opened their restaurant as they wanted to copy the style of Barcelonain Groningen, and they would welcome Catalan events being organised there.

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