THE first international march for Scottish independence is to be held at the Hague in the Netherlands in April.

It is being organised by the Netherlands for Scottish Independence Group and members of the Germans for Scottish Independence group are also expected to attend.

Scottish speakers and musicians invited to attend include James Scott of the Scottish Resistance, SNP and CND member Gwen Sinclair, SNP member Gregg Brain and musicians Kevin Gore, Bobby Nicholson and Amanda Brown.

Raimond Dijkstra, who founded the Netherlands for Scottish Independence Group, is also a member of the SNP and attended his first conference last year.

He said he started the group a year ago to “mobilise” Scots living in the Netherlands as well as Dutch citizens but added that his interest in Scottish independence had not just come out of the blue.

“I have been interested in Scotland and its history my entire life,” said the 43-year-old cable company worker.

“About seven or eight years ago, I visited for the first time with my dad. And the interest turned into a love for the greatest country on earth. Then I started being active online in creating pro-independence artwork right before the 2014 referendum.

“After the result, I felt gutted and felt the need to do something more. And having been politically active here in the Netherlands, I joined the SNP and have been a member ever since.”

He said the idea for the Netherlands march had come after talking to Scottish friends who thought it was a great idea.

“There will be a fair number of Scots coming over,” he said. “Various artists and speakers have been confirmed and we are working on more. We will first have a march through the Hague with a rally at the end. If we get a couple of hundred people I will be happy but hopefully we will hit the 1,000 mark. I don’t think it will be as big as the one in Glasgow last year, but it is the first international one in the Netherlands.”

Marco Görlach of the Germans for Scottish Independence Group is rallying support in Germany for the Netherlands march.

A “Marxist, peace activist, internationalist and trade unionist”, he says he has been “crazy for Scotland for years” and founded the group in 2013.

He has visited Scotland more than 20 times and says it feels like a “homecoming” every time he arrives.

Scot Colin MacPherson, a member of the group, said: “Our members come from all walks of life, Scots and Germans living in Germany, Scots and Germans living in Scotland. Like other groups in the Yes movement we are currently reorganising ourselves in order to be ready to do whatever we can to help Scotland on its road to Independence.

“Whereas in the first referendum many queried our right to exist, Brexit changes that. Not only is this an existential threat to EU citizens in Scotland and the rest of the UK, but also for Scots who have chosen to make their lives in Germany. This legitimises our commitment as a group.

“In 2014, especially outside Scotland, we merely expressed our opinion. Now we are getting directly involved. One of the most important ways in which we can make a difference is in raising awareness of the Yes movement in Germany and on the continent in general.

“Indeed Alyn Smyth begged us all not to let Scotland down in his emotional speech to the European Parliament in June 2016. We want to do more than just discuss in our own private circles of friends, we want to make this a European debate. To this end we have started providing regular updates on events in Scotland for our members in German, as well as pointing people to online articles in English as well as sending a delegation to the first notable demonstration for Scottish independence on the European mainland.

“Members from all over Germany will be joining our friends from the Netherlands and others to stand in solidarity with those in Scotland who share our goal of Scottish Independence. It will be a long and hard struggle, but we are determined to play whatever part we can in achieving it.”

Updates on the Netherlands march and rally on April 22 will be posted on the two groups’ Facebook pages.