Star over Amsterdam
I had long wanted to write a modern version of the Nativity story, but where wouldI set it? I wanted to set it in the Netherlands, but first the country would need to be occupied by a foreign power. And then the International CriminalCourt was set up in the Dutch capital of The Hague to try some of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity in the world. Unlike most democracies in the world, the U.S.A., like China and Russia, refuses to sign up to it. Worse: they claim the right to use any means to extract from the Netherlands any member of their military forces who is arrested by the court.
And so I had my foreign occupation.
The story I have written is for all ages, not just for children.It is set in December.
It could be this year,or next.
The Dutch are ordered to return to their place of birth; foreigners are to report to the city hospital, where, it is rumoured, they will be fitted with computer implants. Young Tom and his mother squeeze as many guests as they can into their small hotel in Amsterdam. The city is crowded. All beds are taken. The curfew falls. Tom locks up. There is a knock at the door...
The book was turned into a Christmas Oratorio by award-winning French composer Camille van Lunen. It was performed in Amsterdam by members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Dutch Chamber Orchestra and Haarlem Voices, conducted by Sarah Barrett.
Click here to see images from the production.