Thursday 09 April 2020

Remembrance Day ceremony to go ahead without members of the public

The king and queen walk past the wreathes at the end of the ceremony in 2019 . Photo: Odi Busman

The committee in charge of organising Remembrance Day on May 4 has decided the ceremony can go ahead but without members of the public, while all Liberation Day festivals and other activities have been cancelled altogether.

The announcement was made shortly after prime minister Mark Rutte imposed stricter measures on Monday to combat the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on all gatherings which will run until June 1.

At the heart of Remembrance Day, when the Netherlands commemorates those who died during WW II and armed conflicts since, is the wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial on Dam square. The ceremony, attended by the king and queen as well as other dignitaries, draws crowds of thousands.

What will happen on Dam square this year is not yet known but the organisers have said that king Willem-Alexander will give a speech.

‘People could perhaps think of ways to show their involvement and commitment in a way that suits these extraordinary circumstances (..) We are asking everyone’s special consideration for the veterans and all those people who experienced the horrors of this war first hand and who are now extra vulnerable for coronavirus,’ committee chairwoman Gerdi Verbeet said in the statement

All other activities that had been planned throughout the country to commemorate 75 years of freedom have been cancelled, including all 14 Liberation festivals.

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