Family of the bride and groom came from far and wide - Italy, Poland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Switzerland. And many friends from Amsterdam, Eindhoven and elsewhere joined the celebration.
It was a special celebration in many ways - Ruth is the first of our children to marry. The bride and groom chose to give the ceremony and programme its own unique form. Most significant is their choice to marry as an expression of their commitment to one another at a time when it seems marriage is out of fashion and only indulged in by people in their thirties.
It was a civil marriage ceremony according to Dutch law, but around the legal process there were many elements reflecting the diversities of culture and world-views coming together in this union.
For several years both Karwan and Ruth have been active in the International Socialists. The choice of location for the ceremony reflects their world-view and historical awareness. The ceremony opened with an introduction to the building by their friend Maina. Catherine, sister of the bride, was master of ceremonies for the occasion and provided translation from Dutch to English where necessary.
Maina explained that De Burcht had been designed by Berlage at the end of the 19th century for the Diamond Workers Labour Union. At that time the diamond industry was the second most important industry in Amsterdam, with 10,000 employed. However the workers had not been strongly organized, being split along religious, Jewish and Christian, lines. Eventually a general strike took place involving all those engaged in the industry. Out of that strike the Diamond Workers Labour Union was established and Berlage, himself a socialist, had designed this building for them. The building now functions as a museum of the labour union movement.