Dutch PM praises youth at Indonesian commemoration

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has marked the 66th anniversary of the capitulation of the Japanese in Indonesia. He said it was heart-rendering that a large number of young people joined the commemoration ceremony. The ceremony took place at the Indonesian Monument in The Hague. "You have to keep commemorating the dead," said the prime minister in a programme for public broadcaster NOS. "This ceremony will be passed on to the next generation."

He thinks that many people in the Netherlands consider freedom to be normal, certainly since the end of the Cold War. But it shouldn't be taken for granted. One of the freedoms he listed was the right to vote. "That people can send me away or vote for me again," he joked.

The victims of the Japanese oppression in Dutch Indonesia during the Second World War were remembered during the ceremony. Prime Minister Rutte laid a wreath at the monument. Indonesia was colonised by the Dutch until shortly after the Second World War. During the war the islands were occupied by Japan.

In Roermond in the southern province of Limburg, security cameras have been mounted after 53 plaques bearing the names of victims were stolen from the National Indonesia Monument in December last year.


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