King speaks to flight 17 victims' families

King Willem-Alexander says that he is deeply saddened by the tragic fate of flight MH17. In a speech at a gathering for the families of the victims in Nieuwegein, the Dutch King spoke on behalf of the Royal Family about the next steps to take as a country as well as a society. 

"We are deeply touched by the harrowing personal stories from people who have lost loved ones. Their sadness, their weakness and their hopelessness cut through our soul", the King said.

The full text of the King's statement can be found at the bottom of this page.

"We share our internal wish that there will be clarity about the cause of this tragedy. We know that their loss cannot be made mended. The sadness is immense. The only thing we could do today is be with them and to listen to their story."

Socially, the King said that the would will be visible and painful for a long time. He said that in these times of deep misery, there is need for "internal strength, compassion and mutual solidarity. It is these qualities that our country seems to possess at crucial moments."

The King further expressed his compassion for the friends, family, colleagues and aid workers whose strength is needed in this time of crisis.

"My wife and I sympathize with all the affected who have been plunged in mourning. In thought, we remain with them. That counts as much for my mother and the other members of the family who feel more closely tied to the country in these days."

Prime Minister Mark Rutte was also present at the gathering, and spoke of the "terrible times." He said that he admires how all Dutch people are supporting the victims' families. "All of The Netherlands feels their rage, feels their sorrow."

Brief statement by His Majesty the King after the gathering of next of kin of the air disaster victims on Monday, 21 July 2014, Nieuwegein

Today a large gathering took place of families of the victims of the air disaster in eastern Ukraine. My wife and I were among those present. We were deeply touched by the moving, personal accounts of those who have lost loved ones. People whose lives are in ruins. Their sorrow, their feeling of powerlessness and their despair are heartrending. Many people said to us, 'We at least want to take dignified leave of our loved ones'.

We understand their frustration and their pain. And we share their heartfelt wish for clarity on the cause of this disaster.

We know that their loss can never be made good. Their grief is immense. The only thing we could do today was to be with them, and listen to what they had to say.

In the last few days, people have gathered together all over the Netherlands, and they will go on doing so. In offices, schools, sports clubs and living rooms across the country. People are there for one another.

And that is especially important now, at a time of great trial for our country, when so many people are overwhelmed by grief. It is important that we hold onto one another, that we support each other and do what we can to help. And that we open our hearts to anyone who wants to share their story. Not only now, but also in the months and years to come.

I would like to express my appreciation for all the people who are rallying around those affected by the disaster. Relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues: you are all very much needed now.

I would also like to say how much I value the work being done by the hundreds of professionals involved in carrying out the many sad and difficult tasks that need to be done.

My wife and I sympathise deeply with all those who have been bereaved. We are with them in our thoughts. These sentiments are shared by my mother and by the other members of my family, who feel a particularly close bond with our country in these dark days.