War dead memorial to happen without public, Liberation Day parties canceled

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima at the National Commemoration on Amsterdam's Dam Square, Remembrance Day 2014
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima at the National Commemoration on Amsterdam's Dam Square, Remembrance Day 2014Photo: Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei / Wikimedia Commons

The National Remembrance Day commemoration on Dam Square in Amsterdam will continue on May 4, but without any audience, chairman Gerdi Verbeet of the National Committee 4 and 5 May said to NOS. All 14 Liberation Day parties on May 5 are canceled, in accordance to stricter measures against the coronavirus that the government announced on Monday. 

The exact details of the commemoration are still being worked out, but it is clear that King Willem-Alexander will give a speech. The committee is looking into other ways to involve the rest of the Netherlands in Remembrance Day and Liberation Day. "We hope that people will also see for themselves what they can do on their street," Verbeet said to the broadcaster. "People need to think about a way to show their commitment and connection, but in a way that suits the exceptional circumstances we are in."

Other activities planned around the celebration of 75 years of freedom were also canceled. For example, the 'Month of Freedom', which involved buses driving through all provinces with all kinds of activities, was scrapped last week. Verbeet said that she understands the disappointment. Many people have worked towards these events for years, often as volunteers, she said.

"We want to make it possible for the entire Dutch society to commemorate in a dignified and interdependent way and stand still at the end of the Second World War 75 years ago, despite the exceptionally difficult circumstances," Verbeet said. "We would like to draw special attention to the veterans and all those people who experienced the horrors of this war themselves and who are now especially vulnerable to the coronavirus."

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