Worshipful Master, Lodge Concord No. 134, Grand East of Netherlands

My thoughts on the coming opening of the Rotterdam Masonic Lodges work year for 2024-2025, are somewhat exciting for me since Lodge Concord No. 134 will be the leading Lodge in hosting and organising it. I also feel humble to lead the opening as the current Worshipful Master of our Lodge. This is not the first time for Lodge Concord to host and organise the opening of the work year. In past years, according to our records it was performed by our Masters in 1993 (Ivo Schuilwerve), 2001 (Frank Darbyshire), and 2009 (Anne Brouwer).
It is not an easy task to organise such an occasion as this. A lot of preparations are required: finding a suitable venue, setting it up to make it appropriate for the occasion, sending invitations and practising the ritual to be used during the ceremony. We are proposing to have it in English as our ritual in Lodge Concord uses Emulation, while traditionally the ritual used for the Rotterdam Lodges opening of the work year is in Dutch.
I have twice in the past attended the opening of the Rotterdam Masonic Lodges work year in the St Laurens Church. It was magnificent. The ceremony was in Dutch, and the atmosphere was solemn and pleasant. I had an opportunity to meet a lot of Brethren from other Lodges in Rotterdam and from other faraway places. The Grand Master leading the Grand Officers of the Grand East of the Netherlands was also present to grace the occasion.
The opening of the Masonic work year marks the start of open lodge meetings, degree ritual works in all Dutch Lodges, also in our Lodge of Instruction, after two months of summer break.
We are expecting that the majority of Brethren from Lodge Concord will be in attendance. Not only from our Lodge but also the Brethren from the Rotterdam Lodges, from other Lodges in the country and probably from another countries as Lodge Concord is often visited by Brethren from foreign countries.

We are now already starting the preparation, with the reservation of the venue. We have a subcommittee for the different tasks such as venue and decorations, transportation, invitations, ritual and any other such tasks for this occasion.
We still have a few months to prepare and I am confident that we can complete what we set out to do, our Lodge hosting the Opening of the Masonic Year on September 7th in the Arminius Church. You are welcome to attend and witness for yourself. Thank you.

My Masonic Brethren I Call My Family
I was born an only child with no siblings; I grew up alone in a strict and devout Catholic family. While I was growing up, I told myself that I will become independent someday, ready to stand alone facing all the odds that will come my way. I immersed myself in outdoor activities, to make myself tough starting from a young age. I joined the Scouts when I was in elementary school and had my first experience away from home at a camp with my fellow Scouts.
During my collegiate year I joined several organisations and one of them was the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and I was an advanced cadet officer when I first encountered the Square and Compass symbol (two of my previous Commandants of Cadets were members of the Craft) and I heard from my co-cadets that it is the symbol of Freemasonry, and not, as I thought, a professional engineering symbol. Then I graduated and joined the police force. I again encountered the same symbols as the rings and car decals with all my previous commanders in the police force, which made me curious about what it was all about. I was contemplating what that symbol was and how to become a part of it. For let’s say more than 20 years I tried to figure out how to join. In the year 2015 I finally became a member of the most prestigious, illustrious, and benevolent organisation on the planet, Freemasonry.
My Freemason Brethren became my family. The bonding that was established became stronger each day. Now that I am in my 9th year as a member of the Craft, the bond with my Masonic Brethren is getting deeper and stronger as I call and consider them my family.