Two-minute silence as Dutch honour war dead

5th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 May 2004 , AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands observed a two-minute silence to honour its war dead on Tuesday night almost 60 years since the country was freed from the German occupation. The sombre mood gives way to festivities on Wednesday as the public celebrates Liberation Day. People all over the Netherlands stood still at 8pm, shortly after Queen Beatrix and Crown prince Willem-Alexander laid a wreath at the national war monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam.

5 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands observed a two-minute silence to honour its war dead on Tuesday night almost 60 years since the country was freed from the German occupation. The sombre mood gives way to festivities on Wednesday as the public celebrates Liberation Day.
 
People all over the Netherlands stood still at 8pm, shortly after Queen Beatrix and Crown prince Willem-Alexander laid a wreath at the national war monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam.

This year's theme for Remembrance Day and Liberation Day — held on 5 May to celebrate the nation's liberation from Nazi occupation — states that Freedom is choosing and sharing. The emphasis is placed on the political aspects of liberty.

Upon completion of the two-minute silence to honour all of the nation's wartime dead, former politician and honorary Minister of State Hans van Mierlo addressed the nation from Dam Square. The ceremony was televised live on Nederland 1, 2 and 3.

Writer Geert Mak had earlier delivered the traditional 4 May speech in the Nieuwe Kerk. He spoke of the optimism that followed the end of World War II, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

"The survivors of the disaster had an unprecedented vitality. Do we still listen to those voices? Where is the dreamed international fraternity, where has the European movement lead to, why are there sometimes shadows around our hard-fought democracy? We, children of the war, must find answers to these questions."

A Remembrance Day ceremony was also held in the Gelderland town Loenen at the Ereveld cemetery — where killed soldiers and civilians are buried — as Defence Minister Henk Kamp gave a speech drawing a connection between soldiers who fought in war for liberty and present-day peacekeeping missions.

Kamp said that liberty and security since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington are no longer a given and peacekeeping missions such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan are important for the Netherlands to help guard peace in the world.

Meanwhile, the union of Moroccan mosques in Amsterdam and surrounding areas, UMMAO, had urged all mosque administrations, imams and Muslims in the capital to place particular attention on Remembrance and Liberation Days.

The call came after groups of immigrant children disturbed commemorative ceremonies last year. In some locations they used wreaths as footballs and sang that all Jews should be killed during the two-minute silence.

And in the French military cemetery in the Zeeland town of Kapelle-Biezelinge, the lives of 19 Moroccans buried there were honoured in a special ceremony. The Moroccans were killed during the war against Nazi Germany.

The German army invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940 and the Dutch capitulated five days later. The entirety of the Netherlands was not liberated by Canadian and allied troops until 5 May 1945. A total of 102,000 Dutch Jews died in concentration camps during the Nazi occupation.

Click here for  information on some of the Liberation Day events taking place around the country.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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