Home » The Netherlands is silent for two minutes to remember its dead – DutchNews.nl

The Netherlands is silent for two minutes to remember its dead – DutchNews.nl

King Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima lay the first wreath at the war memorial. Photo: Pool, Remko de Waal ANP

The Netherlands fell silent for two minutes at 8 pm on Saturday to remember the Dutch who died during World War II and in conflicts and peace keeping missions since then.

The ceremony began as king Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima laid a wreath at the war memorial on Dam square in the centre of Amsterdam in front of a crowd of several thousand people.

There was heavy security around the Dam because of fears the event may be hijacked by demonstrators given the tensions caused by the Israel Hamas war. All visitors were searched and their number was limited to 10,000, all of whom had to register in advance.

In the event, far fewer people came to the centre of the capital – just 4,000 according to the organisers, who said the predicted bad weather may also have played a part.

The two minutes silence passed off in Amsterdam without incident. According to broadcaster NOS, one man wanted to hold up a banner, but was removed by the police before he could do so.

After the two minutes silence, the children and grandchildren of different groups of victims – from relatives of resistance fighters to the military – laid wreaths at the monument and spoke of their experiences.

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema then gave a speech, in which she spoke about the way memories of war make “wounds that never heel”.

“Old fears can be sparked by a sudden noise or siren,” she said. “Or if there is aggression and shouting on the street, or images of terrible war violence force their way into our homes and our hearts.”

“Let us stand up against anti-Semitism,” she said. “Let us us always stand up against every form of discrimination, cherish our constitution, our free press and our democracy.”

On Sunday, the Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day, with festivals throughout the country.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation