CAMPAIGNERS yesterday took to the streets to raise awareness of Scottish independence – in the Netherlands.

Netherlands for Scottish Independence hosted a march and rally in The Hague, the first in-person event for the group after three years of online events due to Covid.

Chief organiser Raimond Dijkstra said he first took an interest in Scotland as a “history buff” and ended up falling in love with the country on a visit in 2011.

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“I joined the SNP up until the referendum and a few other groups online,” he said.

“In 2017, I did the first event here and it has just kept on growing and now it is just a passion.”

Dijkstra said one of the aims of the events was to raise awareness of the campaign for independence and that he had noticed Scotland becoming more visible in recent years.

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He pointed to the example of when Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for all last year.

“When they spoke about that on the news here, they called Scotland the ‘first country’ – for me, that was a significant change,” he said.

“Before, it was always part of the UK, included in that, and most of the time there was only talk about England. Now they called Scotland the first country offering free sanitary products.”

He added: “We have more people coming up to us asking us what are we doing – when you tell them they don’t even know [about Scottish independence] “The third event wasn’t a major event size-wise, but it was major for us as we got contacted by the media here, “Before we always had to leave messages asking would you like to cover this and sometimes not even get a response – now they were contacting us.

“We are getting noticed – it is getting the message across.”

The march yesterday went through Hague city centre, and including passing by the British Embassy.

Dijkstra said the first march had attracted around 200 people but the focus since then had been raising awareness rather than large numbers.

 “The biggest compliment I got was a Scottish lady living in the Netherlands who said: ‘I was never able to go to one of these rallies and you gave me the opportunity’,” he said.

“The numbers look great if there are big numbers, but it is more about getting the message across and getting people noticing what is going on.”