This incredible adventure started when Anne van Leeuwen,
head of Press and Cultural Affairs Section, Royal
Netherlands Embassy, Ottawa and Fred de Bruin, Consul at
Consulate General of the Netherlands in Montréal,
introduced us to Michel Gauthier, director of the
Canadian Tulip Festival, during our visit of Canada in
November 2004. We were participants of the Cinars fair
in Montreal and staged a promotional jazz performance at
the Grand Hyatt hotel.
After a dinner with Michel in Ottawa our intentions were
clear. Michel saw the possibility to use the Stage Bus
to distribute the gift of the tulips from Holland all
over Canada and to reach the young people with our music
and remind them about the II world war, the Canadian
veterans and our freedom of today.
Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet was coming to Ottawa
this year for the 60th Anniversary and she would then
launch our tour by releasing 60 doves at the Tulip
It was an enormous task to organize this
project. - One hundred concerts in 76 communities. -
Informing the Mayors, getting in touch with the local
legions, the festival organizers and contacting hundreds
of people, spreading the word and finding the sponsors.
We were very blessed when it all came together.
cooperation with De Nederlandse Courant we wanted to
create a News paper in tabloid format containing war
stories of the veterans from the communities and cities
that we were planning to visit during our concert tour.
From my home in Amsterdam we telephoned and interviewed
the distinguished veterans and published their stories
(Chapter VI). 36 Mayors in Holland said ‘Thank you
Canada’ and agreed to sponsor this paper and added their
war stories (Chapter V) and community logo's. At the end
of April 2005 the Stage Bus was shipped to Halifax and
the first concert was held on May 6th.
This book has the pictures of beautiful Canada and their
beautiful people. Hundreds of veterans attended the
concerts and we published their images in this book. In
every community the mayor or his representative received
a tulip friendship Garden in honour of the WWII
Veterans, the 60th Anniversary of the liberation of
Holland and the Friendship between Canadians and the
In total we drove 50.000 km. From Newfoundland to
Alaska and back, twice. Luluk had a new digital camera
and took most of the pictures.
During this tour it became so clear: the Dutch love the
Canadians and the Canadians love the Dutch.
We have decided to publish this book on internet and to
make all of this information available. When you notice
anything that needs a correction or an addition, please
let me know and email me at
If you would like to order the real book (printed
version) send me an email.