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.
The main Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) 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. Due to the social distancing measures, this year the public will not be present, however, the ceremony will go ahead and will be televised.
A day to remember people who died in military conflicts since World War II
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.
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 at 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.
War memorial on May 4, 2021, will go ahead without the public
The Dutch National Remembrance Day ceremony to commemorate those who died in World War II and armed conflicts since will go ahead this year but without any public present. The ceremony takes place in Amsterdam each year with commemorative wreaths placed strategically on Dam Square, along with speeches and a minute 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. It will be a very different scene this year, taking place without any members of the public. Another thing that has been confirmed is that King Willem Alexander will give a speech.
Watch the televised Dutch National Remembrance Day ceremony
The national commemoration will be televised, beginning around 7.50pm. Andre van Duin will speak and King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima will lay a wreath at the monument, after which two minutes of silence will be observed.