Remembrance Day 2014

In commemoration of this year’s Remembrance Day (Herdenkingsdag), a wreath will be laid at the memorial plaque in foyer of the Aula Congress Centre on Friday, May 2.

Every year on the May 4, the Netherlands pays its respects to all Dutch victims of war. In the past, this nation-wide event was held to commemorate the soldiers and civilians who were killed and murdered during World War II. Since 1961, the Netherlands also pays tribute to the Dutch victims of other conflicts, wars and peacekeeping missions.

“First of all, we commemorate all the people who gave their lives during the Second World War,” says Rev. Hans-Jan Roosenbrand, minister of the Immanuël church in Delft. “During the years, it became more of commemorating all Dutch soldiers who died in all wars. Nowadays, we think about the victims not only during World War II but also afterwards, in other countries.” According to the minister, this event bears an enormous significance to the Netherlands as a whole.

In keeping with tradition, two minutes of silence are observed throughout the country at 8pm. Beforehand, a commemorative service will be held at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, followed by an official ceremony at Dam Square attended by the Royal family and representatives of the Dutch government. An estimated 20,000 people will also be in attendance. Remembrance Day coincides with various, local ceremonies, including three commemorative services at the Markt, the Indonesian monument at Sint Agathaplein and the Jaffa cemetery in Delft.

On May 5, the Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag), marking the end of the German occupation during the Second World War. In honor of this event, fourteen Liberation Festivals will be held across the country, drawing close to a million visitors. The day’s festivities serve as a reminder of the fragility and importance of freedom, and the human cost of liberation.

This year’s Liberation Day kicks off in Drenthe, beginning with the prestigious Fifth of May Lecture to be delivered by the former president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. At 1pm, Dutch Prime Minster Mark Rutte will formally open the celebrations by lighting the Liberation Day torch. The Philharmonie Zuidnederland is scheduled to perform at the Fifth of May concert in Amsterdam on the River Amstel to bring the day to a close. This national celebration forms the largest, single-day cultural event in the Netherlands.

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