MH17 monument to be unveiled at memorial of 3 year anniversary

Bird's eye view of the MH17 monument in Vijfhuizen near Schiphol - artist's impression
Bird's eye view of the MH17 monument in Vijfhuizen near Schiphol - artist's impression

The MH17 National Monument in Vijfhuizen will be unveiled at the memorial of the disaster on Monday afternoon. Exactly three years ago today Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard, including 196 Dutch.

The memorial will be a closed one, with only family and friends of the victims invited. According to the Telegraaf, about 2 thousand people from the Netherlands and abroad are expected to attend. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will officially open the monument at the memorial, which has the theme 'survive' this year and involves reading the victims' names. 

NOS will broadcast the memorial from 1:55 p.m. and again from 7:00 p.m. on NPO 1. The afternoon broadcast will be live from the memorial. The evening broadcast will be an overview of what happened and include some conversations with relatives. 

The National Monument is located in Park Vijfhuizen, which is adjacent to Schiphol. The municipality of Amsterdam donated the ground for the monument. It is surrounded by 298 trees, one for each victim. The trees were planted in March. The monument consists of a steel wall of 4 meters high and 16 meters broad. In front of the wall is a large eye, in which the names of the MH17 victims were engraved.

Designer Ronald A. Westerhuis chose steel for the wall, because for him it stands for "sorrow", he said to NOS. "When it's raining, you see water tracks. In addition, steel is also perishable, it'll rust. So I hope, the sadness is also perishable." The eye on which the names are engraved, was also a deliberate choice. "The mirroring plane looks up. I wanted to make a connection between the families and the victims now in heaven, even though I'm not a Christian myself."

Westerhuis can't say that he is looking forward to the Monument's unveiling on Monday afternoon. "It is a loaded moment and I do not wat to sit in the grief of another The monument is not mine. I made it, it was a very honorable assignment, but it's not for me. This is not my sorrow", he said to the broadcaster.