Netherlands to honor those who died during war on Remembrance Day today
The Netherlands will pay tribute to those who have been killed during war and peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II with ceremonies and a moment of silence on Thursday. The annual Remembrance Day is most notable for the national commemoration on Dam Square in Amsterdam, when a trumpet player’s music brings in the start of a two-minute moment of silence at 8 p.m. that is respected across the country.
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will lay a wreath at the National Monument there as part of the event. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren, State Secretary Maarten van Ooijen, and the deputy plenipotentiary ministers from Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten will also lay wreathes at the site. Television and radio presenter Dieuwertje Blok will deliver the keynote speech.
The event on Dam Square will be broadcast live by NOS, and includes the participation of 50 children from Amsterdam and Overijssel. The annual commemoration typically draws thousands of people who pack the square, as well as the Damrak, Rokin, and surrounding streets.
Along with the moment of silence, trains, trams, and other public transport vehicles come to a stop to give passengers and workers the opportunity to reflect on the country’s history. Additionally, air traffic will not be permitted to taxi or land during that time.
The public event is preceded by a memorial service in De Nieuwe Kerk, where author Marcel Möring will give this year’s May 4 lecture. The organizing committee noted Möring‘s first novel, Mendels erfenis, was published in 1990. “In this book, the protagonist struggles with the history of his Jewish family,” the committee said. His 2022 book, Familiewandeling, was described as “an intimate autobiographical account of Möring's childhood years and a penetrating portrait of his traumatized Jewish mother.”
It was not immediately clear if an unannounced visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would force any changes to previously scheduled events. Tweede Kamer Chair Vera Bergkamp was set to deliver an address to the lower House of Parliament in the morning. Princess Margriet, Infrastructure Minister Mark Harbers, and Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb will join the National Merchant Marine commemoration in Rotterdam. Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren was also scheduled to speak at the National Field of Honor in Loenen, Gelderland at 1:30 p.m.
Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra was scheduled to give a speech ahead of a silent march at the Kamp Amersfoort National Monument, where those who were deported from Westerbork during World War II are remembered.
Liberation Day is typically started just before midnight, moments before the calendar turns to May 5. It begins with the lighting of the Liberation Fire in Wageningen. Prime Minister Rutte will attend the May 5 lecture in Zwolle, and will lite the Liberation Fire there on Friday. He will then join Willem-Alexander and Maxima for the annual May 5 concert in Amsterdam, which brings the Liberation Day celebration to a close, the government’s press office said.