Russian embassy in The Hague calls police to silence organ playing Ukrainian anthem

February 25,2023 2002
Russian embassy in The Hague calls police to silence organ playing Ukrainian anthem

On Feb. 24, one year after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a Dutch artist decided to play the Ukrainian national anthem on an organ in front of the Russian embassy in The Hague, the de facto capital of The Netherlands.

At 8:00 a.m., Teun Castelein stood in front of the embassy, according to RTL.Nieuws. He was accompanied by Fabian, the organ man he hired to help him with his plan to play the anthem all day long.

“The war touches me. And as an artist, I wanted to do something with it,” says Castelein, an “angry mid-career artist with no humor,” as he presents himself on Instagram – or rather misrepresents, inasmuch as it concerns his sense of humor.

He was prepared for anything: “It’s a playful action; you take into account that people will get angry.” However, the reaction of participants in the pro-Ukrainian rally, going by with a huge, 30-meter national flag of Ukraine, was warm.

“A march of Ukrainians and sympathizers came by. They were not allowed to stand still, but they spontaneously started to sing along with the national anthem. That evoked a lot of emotion in me. It was really moving,” Teun recalls.

He and Fabian stood there until two in the afternoon. “You can imagine that I now know the national anthem from front to back,” he laughs. He was then sent away by the police, who, according to Teun, had been called in by the embassy.

Nevertheless, he looks back on his action with satisfaction. “In the end, I saw that our action was even shared on Twitter by a member of Zelensky’s team [Andriy Yermak, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine]. I am pleased it apparently moved even them,” says the artist.

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