King will lay wreath on an empty Dam to remember the dead on May 4
The Dutch will remember the end of World War II and celebrate 75 years of freedom in a very different way than planned, the committee organising the May 4 and 5 events has confirmed.
The Netherlands always remembers the Dutch victims of World War II on May 4 with Remembrance Day ceremonies throughout the country.
This year, however, there will be no massed crowds at Dam square in the centre of Amsterdam, where king Willem-Alexander, queen Maxima and other dignitaries usually lay wreaths at the war memorial.
Instead, the king and queen will lay a wreath in the presence of prime minister Mark Rutte and Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema. The king will then make a televised speech to an empty Dam.
At 19.58 a trumpet will play the Last Post and the organisers have asked everyone who has a brass instrument at home to play at the same time. At 20.00 the country will go silent for two minutes to remember the dead.
The national anthem will then sound out across the country and everyone is being urged to join in the singing at home.
‘The May 4 and 5 events will be largely based around people’s homes this year, and that is why the committee has asked everyone to hang a flag at half-mast outside their homes throughout May 4 and on May 5 to hang out the flag again to honour those who freed us 75 years ago,’ the organising committee said.
May 5, on which the Netherlands celebrates its freedom, will also be very different, with no festivals nationwide. However, the freedom flame will be lit in Wageningen as usual and there will be ceremonial flames in all 12 Dutch provinces.
In the evening, instead of the traditional floating concert on the Amstel river, there will be a more low key event in the foyer of the Carre theatre which will be broadcast live on NPO1.
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