Saturday 15 May 2021

The Netherlands remembers its war dead with poetry and personal stories

The king and queen walk past the wreaths. Photo: Remko de Waal ANP/Pool

The Netherlands remembered its World War II dead on Tuesday, with commemorations at war memorials nationwide.

The day of remembrance culminated in two minutes’ silence on the Dam in central Amsterdam, where king Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima laid a wreath.

Other wreaths were laid for members of the resistance, ordinary citizens who died, soldiers and merchant navy sailors.

On Dam Square, where about 100 invited guests attended the ceremony, prize winning spoken word artist Amara van der Elst told of descending from two different cultures, and of ‘the wounds beneath the skin that do not heal’.

Read her poem (Dutch)

Comedian and actor André van Duin spoke about growing up in Rotterdam in the aftermath of the World War II and about attending Remembrance Day commemorations at the Homo Monument close to the Dam.

Read his speech (Dutch)

‘The fact that we have had such a monument since 1987, as the first people in the world, is a symbol of our freedom,’ he said. ‘The freedom that everyone can be themselves. Everyone, without others having anything to say about it.’

‘I too,’ he said, ‘am responsible for passing that freedom on to the next generation.’

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.