More than 1,600 relatives of people killed in the MH17 disaster will come together in Amsterdam on Monday afternoon for a memorial ceremony to remember the 298 people killed when their plane was brought down in eastern Ukraine.
The meeting will take place in the Rai exhibition centre in Amsterdam and will be attented by king Willem-Alexander, queen Máxima, princess Beatrix, ministers, MPs and former foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans, now number two at the European Commission.
The ceremony begins at 13.00 and will be broadcast live on national television and radio. Prime minister Mark Rutte and relatives of the victims will be among those to speak. Music will be provided by Marco Borsato and the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest.
To mark the day, flags will be flown at half mast on government buildings all over the country. The programme has been organised in consultation with relatives.
Everyone on board the Malaysian Airways plane was killed when it was brought down, apparently by pro-Russian rebels, on July 17. Most were Dutch but there was also a sizeable number of Australians and Malaysians.
Rutte told Nos in an interview the memorial is a national remembrance event, something which is customary in the Netherlands. ‘We are still far from working through this terrible disaster,’ he said. ‘But a memorial ceremony gives the relatives a place. It contributes to the process.’
A military aircraft brought several more coffins back from Ukraine on Saturday, where they were received with the same solemnity as on earlier occasions. The coffins were taken to a military base near Hilversum for the remains to be identified.
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