Tuesday 14 July 2020

Push for May 4 remembrance day to be more international

Young people in the Netherlands support the commemoration of the war dead on May 4, but want to see more recognition for the victims of wars in other countries, the latest annual survey of national attitudes has found.

The National 4 and 5 May Committee, which supervises the events to mark the national day of remembrance and Liberation Day, said Dutch people valued the low-key tone of the commemorations and did not want to make them more ceremonial.

Overall 94% of people appreciated the two minutes’ silence on May 4, while 88% backed hanging the national flag at half mast and 86% approved of playing the national anthem.

A growing number said the commemorations should be extended to cover the war dead of all nationalities, a suggestion that has caused controversy in previous years.

The proportion rose to 21% from 16% last year, while the number who believe only Dutch victims should be recognised has fallen from 18% to 12%. Overall 29% believe the event should mark fallen soldiers in all conflicts, not just the Second World War.

‘Our research shows that the current solemn form of remembrance and celebration and the rituals that go with it are greatly valued by young and old people alike,’ said committee chair Gerdi Verbeet. What we also see is that the view of war and the commemoration of its victims is becoming increasingly international.’

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