As migrants have reached Western European countries in recent days, they have been greeted by some locals with open arms. Sweets, toys and water were handed out in Munich, but in Apeldoorn, in the Netherlands, the welcoming was musical.
In Munich on Saturday afternoon, dozens of well-wishers stood behind barriers cheering and clapping as the first of that day’s expected 8,000 asylum seekers made it to Germany from Hungary. The enthusiastic crowd offered sweets, toys and bottled water to the sometimes bemused migrants, many with children, passing before them.
A grandmother called Hedy Gupta, who was handing out blocks of chocolate, is quoted in The Guardian saying:
“We just wanted them to know that the torture is over, I have children and a five-year-old grandchild and when I think what they have been through, these children, it leaves me on the ground.”
A local legal assistant, Waltraud Volger, was also there to welcome the asylum seekers. Speaking to The Guardian she said:
“I heard about it on the radio around 1pm today and just gathered what food and clothes I had and came over to donate it and offer to help. They have so many volunteers that they haven’t needed me, so I’m just standing here welcoming them with clapping. I’ve never done anything like this before, but when you hear their stories and see the pictures, you can’t just stand by.”
The BBC‘s reporter on the scene, Jenny Hill, appeared to be overcome with excitement, offering her own calls of “welcome to Germany” to the passing throng. In the background a man gave a somewhat tuneless rendition of “Ode To Joy”, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, which doubles up as the anthem of the European Union when performed without words.
Perhaps the most uncomfortable welcome was reserved for Syrians entering the Netherlands. In a town called Apeldoorn a makeshift choir greeted migrants with a four minute song (video below).
We have yet not been able to secure a reliable translation of the song, however it must be assumed that the incoming Syrians would be equally unable to translate. We understand it begins “You are welcome! Welcome in my country,” and continues in that vein with messages about wanting to laugh and cry together whilst learning who they are.
The reaction of the Syrians can be gauged in the video at about the 2 minute mark:
Meanwhile, Sky News reports that Hungary is beginning to “fill up” with new asylum seekers once again – most of whom have travelled through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.