About the Poem

The poem “Vrijheid” was written by Marion Bloem in 1999. The poem was selected by “Het Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei” and a video clip was made and broadcasted several times a day on Dutch television in 2000.

Through translation of her poem “Vrijheid” Marion Bloem tries to understand the meaning of the concept in different countries, cultures, languages. Words do not always mean the same in different languages. Translation confronts us with this continuously and translating poetry even more. A poem can help us to enlighten.

Freedom is one of the most often used/abused concepts of our time. It is used to wage wars to free people, to mark differences between cultures and religions to defend policies, to herald the free market and the related idea of freedom to consume.

In addition, the conflict between guarding of the ground rules to be able to live in a free society for all and the interest of the individual to be free of any rules embodies the discussions about democracy and the role of the state. The paradox that on the one hand freedom has to be defended, while at the other hand has to be contested continuously, has been at the very heart of art. It implies the freedom to express one’s innermost needs.

In 2005 Tjeerd Oosterhuis made an audio clip of the poem “Vrijheid” for “Een Royaal Gebaar”, the first most successful internet campaign ever, to claim asylum for refugees who had stayed longer than five years in the Netherlands. The poem was published on cd together with other songs available in the book ‘Een Royaal Gebaar’.