European Convention, 9-11 September 2022, Oosterbeek, the Netherlands
After more than 18 months of preparation, the moment had come for the EuCon 2022 to start.
Because of the 40 year anniversary of the Red Knights, the theme was ’40 years of Brotherhood’.
Registration for the EuCon 2022 started on December 1, 2021 at 00:00 and within 22 hours all places were reserved … many international members had to be disappointed … or not?
The organizing committee has done everything in its power to arrange extra places around the EuCon location and it was possible to accommodate a total of 360 members in hotels and campsites.
Friday 9 September 2022
On Friday it was D-day, the entire Bilderberg hotel had been booked, so completely available to convert it into a ‘Red Knights party location’, inside and out. Our vice president personally ensured also that 4 motorcycles could be borrowed, without further costs for the Red Knights.
Zodiac Motorcycles, American fire engines, suppliers of engine parts, virtual reality simulation and other fire-related related sponsors built their stands, Tattoo-artists/spray painters, pin stripe artists, everyone was looking forward to get the party started.
During the day, the first brothers and sisters from all over Europe, America and Canada trickled into the party location, were received by the board members and were provided with a nice filled goodie bag. Unfortunately, the first raindrops also trickled down, but that didn't detract from the festivities.
The drinks were ready, the party started to get going. Happy faces, beautiful encounters, conviviality and brotherhood. There was drinking, a delicious BBQ meal and old acquaintances saw each other again after a year or more. A TOP START OF THIS EUCON!
Saturday September 10
Breakfast was ready at 07:30 am, a little earlier for the presidential meeting because that meeting had to start on time to ensure that the day's program ran smoothly.
At 10:00 am the engines were started to set off for the first part of the program, a visit to the National Fire Brigade Monument in Schaarsbergen, Arnhem. Unfortunately there was still some light rain, but nevertheless we were on the road with many motorcycles and an American school bus full of members who did not have a motorcycle available.
Under the supervision of traffic controllers, arranged by our member Paul, the Ride-out was set in motion. The traffic lights on the route were neatly turned green, intersections were blocked, and the Ride-out was able to drive uninterrupted to the parking lot of the NIPV, Netherlands Institute for Public Safety. The motorcycles were placed in the parking lot and the members could line up behind the piper band.
Accompanied by the 48th Highlanders of Holland Pipes and Drums, a short walk was taken to the monument. The monument commemorated the fallen firefighters in the Netherlands.
The regional commander of the central region of Gelderland, Mr Anton Slofstra, gave a nice speech, Region 7 Director Tom van der Kleij and Netherlands 1 President Peter Dekker also gave a speech, the attack on the TwinTower in New York on 9-11 was also not forgotten.
After a moment of silence, the three speakers laid a wreath at the monument.
In commemoration of the sudden death of Queen Elisabeth of Great Britain the Britisch Red Knights ware asked to step forward and the national anthem ‘God Safe the King’ was also played. Accompanied by the piper band, the commemoration ceremony was ended and the engines were started again for the next program part.
The next location was the Open Air Museum in Arnhem. There everyone received a nice packed lunch and visitors could visit the museum for two hours. Meanwhile it remained dry and there was even a watery sun visible. After the Open Air Museum, everyone could still make a tour independently and return to the party location.
At the end of the afternoon the party area slowly filled up again, the members gathered again to chat and it was time for the group photo.
While enjoying a real Dutch Jenever, the photo session was completed and the preparations for dinner were made. It was possible to get various dishes at various places on the hotel grounds. It looked delicious and tasted even better.
After dinner, time was made for an official moment in which various members were put in the spotlight, people were thanked and the Red Knights Flag was transferred from The Netherlands to Austria IV, who will organize the International Convention 2023.
After these formalities, the party could continue, inside and outside the hotel. Later in the evening, we paid attention to the inner man, two snack/food trucks provided the attendees with various snacks and fries. The party went on until the wee hours … for some people never long enough... but that's part of it too ;-)
Sunday 11 September
After a nice Breakfast the first members were getting ready to leave ... some for a short ride, others a longer ride ahead. Time for goodbyes, thanks, a last greeting, see you next year in Fussach, Austria.
From this place I would like to thank all members who were present at the EuCon 2022 for their presence, brotherhood and conviviality. I want to thank all members of chapter Netherlands 1 present for their contribution and in particular Jolanda, Margriet, Peter and Raymond. Thanks to them, and their investment in a lot of time and energy, it resulted in a very well attended and successful EuCon!
Peter “Pyro” Dekker
President Red Knights Netherlands 1