Dutch remember tsunami victims in silence
5 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands joined with countries across Europe to observe a three-minute silence from noon on Wednesday in remembrance of the estimated 150,000 people who died in the Indian Ocean tsunami.
5 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands joined with countries across Europe to observe a three-minute silence from noon on Wednesday in remembrance of the estimated 150,000 people who died in the Indian Ocean tsunami.
Public transport and work in offices across the Netherlands came to a temporary standstill at midday to mark the occasion.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast at government buildings.
A special commemorative ceremony was held in the Binnenhof, the Dutch Parliament building complex in The Hague, beginning at noon on Wednesday.
The dignitaries attending included Balkenende and his ministers, members of the Council of State, the chairpersons of the Lower House of Parliament and the Senate, Mayor Wim Deetman of The Hague, and representatives of embassies in the Netherlands.
"Nobody can be unmoved by the disaster in southeast Asia. We are united by the horror we feel. And by the empathy we feel for the bereaved - all over the world," Balkenende said. "The Netherlands is showing its solidarity. Not just for now, but for later too."
At a later stage, the government said, a national memorial ceremony will take place in The Hague. "During the gathering, victims, their next of kin, and relatives of those still missing will be given central importance," the government said. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will also attend.
Denmark decided not to observe the three-minute silence. The Danish government said on Tuesday that it felt flying flags at half-mast at public buildings was sufficient. Denmark's neighbours, Norway and Sweden are observing the silence. Norway is not a member of the EU.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news, Indian Ocean tsunami