NOS news interview with Arjan Erkel - transcript

ARJAN: Yes, that was very nice…an airplane from the Air Force. It looked like a First Class airplane with everything it should have

And a medical examination on the way, I understood?

ARJAN: Yes, a small medical examination by a medical doctor, but that was not an extensive one because I had already two medical examinations in Russia.

And completely healthy, I understand, considering the circumstances?

ARJAN: Yes, more or… considering the circumstances completely healthy. I will stay alive!

That is indeed the intention (laughing) How does it feel to be back in the Netherlands, is this weird, did you look forward to this. How do you look forward to this when you are in captivity?

ARJAN: Yes, it becomes of course something of a dream, you are glamorizing it and yes… I always wanted to come back in the spring, because in the Netherlands spring is like summer the most beautiful time of the year.
And look at today, the sun is shining, the sun is going to shine again in my life as well, as I would say.

Yes, and that was also what you thought of when you were in captivity, the ideal situation?

ARJAN: Yes, that sounds very simple, but just sitting in an outdoor cafe with a beer. Such small things become things with a very important meaning.

Then this afternoon, there will be a big party in the village, do you look forward to this?

ARJAN: I look forward to that. Yes, I’m not from Westdorpe, of course, I live in Rotterdam. But it is fantastic that the people there have such a strong tie with my parents and have been of great support to my parents. In the past I came so now and then in Westdorpe, I feel honoured and look forward to it, of course.

What we are concerned about in the Netherlands is the moment of your release, How did that go, because that is not yet clear. Is this clear for you, how this went?

ARJAN: No, it is not yet clear for myself. I was there, but blindfolded en I was scared. Would this be my last moment or .…because for myself it was also not clear that it should happen today. They told me at the end of May, the end of April, the beginning of May.

You had heard signs that it would happen some day?

ARJAN: Yes…no, that I would be handed over to another group who would accompany me to the end. But the end came immediately.

Yes, and it was not yet clear that it would be your release?

ARJAN: Yes, exactly

No, and who was involved…

ARJAN: Yes, that came as a great surprise.

Yes, exactly, it is a wonderful surprise. And who has been involved, isn’t clear for you either?

ARJAN: No, that isn’t clear to me and I reckon this will never be clarified.

I wish you well.