More than one hundred Tibetans and Dutch supporters of the Tibetan people travelled to Barneveld from the city of Amsterdam to welcome Tashi on her first visit to The Netherlands. The International Campaign for Tibet, the Tibet Support Group and the Tibetan Community in the Netherlands gave a traditional Tibetan welcome ceremony in honour of the Tibet balloon. The pilots Heaven Crawley and Paul Dopson were offered traditional Tibetan ceremonial scarves (khata) by Tibetan monks and representatives of various Tibetan organizations.
There was a roar of delight from the crowd as Tashi took to the skies for her inaugural flight, which was extensively covered by the local and international press including Barneveldse Krant, Omroep Gelderland (at 13.00), the Tibet Express and Voice of Tibet (at 16.10).
Tsering Jampa, Director of the International Campaign for Tibet in The Netherlands said, “For Tibetans seeing the Tibet Flag released over the Dutch landscape is a very emotional experience and it fills me with pride that I was in a country living where people can freely express their views. In Tibet itself, the flag is strictly prohibited and there are heavy prison sentences. My thanks goes out to the festival organizers for allowing the Tibet Balloon to be here, but especially to the couple Heaven Crawley and Paul Dopson who have taken the initiative to build and fly the Tibet balloon. This unique opportunity makes it possible to bring human rights in Tibet and China and its severe endangered culture and identity into the spotlight”