Remembrance Day takes place each year on May 4 to commemorate both civilians and members of the Netherlands Armed Forces who died in military conflicts and peacekeeping missions.
National Remembrance Day Netherlands: May 4 (Dodenherdenking)
National Remembrance Day in the Netherlands (Dodenherdenking) takes place each year on May 4. Dutch Remembrance Day is not a public holiday but is a national day of commemoration. The main Remembrance Day ceremonies are typically attended by the Dutch royal family as well as military leaders and veterans, with speeches and flower-laying ceremonies commemorating the soldiers and civilians who died fighting in wars across the world.
Dutch Remembrance Day history
Remembrance Day began as a memorial day specifically for those killed in World War II, but since 1961 it has also included victims of other military conflicts and peacekeeping missions. Since 1987, it has been organised by National Committee for 4 and 5 May (Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei), which is the main Dutch authority for war monuments and memorials.
Remembrance Day activities in the Netherlands
The central memorial ceremony on Remembrance Day takes place at the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam. Other important locations include the Waalsdorpvlakte near The Hague and the war cemetery in Grebbeberg.
The ceremonies are broadcast live on television and radio across the country. There are usually wreaths made up of white flowers and the blue, white and red Dutch flag, which are placed on monuments as a gesture of respect for those who died. Dutch national flags are flown at half-mast all over the Netherlands on May 4.
Watch the televised Dutch National Remembrance Day ceremony
The national commemoration will be televised, beginning around 6.45pm. King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima will lay a wreath at the monument, after which two minutes of silence will be observed (at 8pm).
Local Dutch Remembrance Day activities
Take note of the Remembrance Day activities happening in many Dutch cities on Remembrance Day. Commemorations are held in every municipality, often tying in with the local history of specific areas. Browse the website dedicated to May 4-5 to find out which Remembrance Day commemorations are happening in your area on May 4, and on which war memorials you can lay a wreath of flowers.
Memorial Day Amsterdam 2023
The Dutch National Memorial Day or Remembrance Day ceremony to commemorate those who died in World War II and other armed conflicts and peacekeeping missions will be open to the public this year. The ceremony takes place on Dam Square in Amsterdam on May 4, 2023, with commemorative wreaths placed strategically on Dam Square, along with speeches and a moment of silence.
The national commemoration event on May 4 typically involves members of the Dutch Royal Family and a few other dignitaries laying wreaths and it usually draws a massive crowd.
Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) takes place each year on May 5, the day after Remembrance Day, celebrating the freedom of the Netherlands after World War II. Nowadays, Liberation Day is a day of national observance, but every five years it’s celebrated as a public holiday, with schools and businesses closed throughout the country.