Some 12,000 people gathered in Almere on Sunday for a silent march to commemorate the amateur football linesman who died after being attacked by a group of teenagers a week ago.
The crowd carried torches and banners and some wore armbands featuring ladybirds, the symbol of the Dutch campaign against senseless violence.
The crowd fell silent as it was addressed by Alain, son of Richard Nieuwenhuizen who was kicked and punched by players after a match.
‘Dear Papa, we will miss you,’ his son said in a short but emotional speech. ‘But let us remember, in the Netherlands senseless violence never has the last word.’
Football association chairman Michael van Praag told the crowd Nieuwenhuizen’s death was ‘unimaginable’. ‘Football is about emotion but it is also about winning and losing,’ he said. ‘You have to be able to deal with both, otherwise you have no place in our sport.’
The KNVB, which has been criticised for not doing enough to tackle football-related violence, cancelled thousands of amateur matches this weekend out of respect for Nieuwenhuizen.
After the speeches, the crowd moved off for a 2.7 kilometre walk through a largely residential area to the Buitenboys amateur football club, where Nieuwenhuizen was attacked.
It has become traditional in the Netherlands for any senseless but shocking death to be commemorated by a stille tocht or silent march.
Four boys aged 15 and 16 are in custody in connection with the attack and are under investigation for manslaughter.
Nieuwenhuizen will be cremated on Monday.
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