As part of ICT’s ongoing campaign on the case of the missing Panchen Lama, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, ICT Europe teamed up with Tibet Support Group Netherlands to make the 11th Panchen Lama the central focus of the first ever Ticket for Tibet festival in southern Holland on the 28th August.

Around 3000 festival-goers from all across The Netherlands took part in Tibet-related activities, including momo-making, thangka-painting, Tibetan song and dance and learning the Tibetan calligraphy, while children also took part in the worldwide Panchen Lama drawing competition (part of ITSN’s Stolen Words, Forbidden Images competition.)

On the music stages, acts ranging from reggae to hard rock and traditional Tibetan all entertained the gathered crowds. Highlights were the Dutch hard rock band De Heideroosjes and the traditional Tibetan singer Loten Namling performing together on stage and the live performance by Def-P and Peter Pan Speedrock of their specially recorded single for Ticket for Tibet, Werelddelen. Other acts included Namgyal Lhamo and The Yaks from India.

However, the primary motivation for holding the festival was to highlight the need for a political solution to the Tibetan problem and for progress to be made on the case of the young Panchen Lama. This remained the central message of the event and the primary reason the many music acts chose to participate. During the day Tsering Jampa, Executive Director of ICT Europe, told the crowds that “Some of our politicians would like us to forget the Tibetan issue, but the fact that we are all gathered here today is a signal to China?s leadership that the Dutch people care deeply about the plight of the Tibetan people and that human rights violations in Tibet are unacceptable. We need to say to our governments that if they cannot, after 10 long years, find a 16 year old child then they are not doing their job properly”.

Boris Dittrich, Chairman of Democratic 66, one of the ruling political parties in Holland, gave an impassioned speech, saying that “the significance of the non-violent Tibetan struggle deserves our full support” and that he was deeply concerned by “the grave human rights violations in Tibet”, including the detention of the Panchen Lama and the use of forced sterilization on Tibetan women.

At the special Panchen Lama Tent, volunteers and the public were able to make their own “Missing” t-shirts in honor of the Panchen Lama and over 1000 visitors signed ICT?s Action Card to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which meets with China on the 19-20 September.

Jeanet van der Woude, Coordinator of the Dutch TSG, was pleased with the results of the day, saying “Holding such an event is a huge undertaking for us, but seeing so many people gathered in one place for the Tibetan cause makes it all worthwhile. Many initially came for the Dutch bands but we have been overwhelmed by how many have taken the time to learn about Tibetan culture and the political situation as well – a really great day for us and the members of the Tibetan community in Holland who joined us on the day. You have to think big and we?d love to see the Beastie Boys play here next year!”