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National monument on the Dam Square in Amsterdam


Remembrance of the Dead ( ) is held annually on May 4 in the Netherlandsmarker. It commemorates all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II.

Until 1961, the commemoration only related to the Dutch victims of World War II. Since 1961, the victims of other military conflicts (such as the Indonesian National Revolution in Indonesiamarker) and peacekeeping missions (such as in Lebanonmarker or Bosniamarker) are remembered on May 4 as well.

Traditionally, the main ceremonies are observed in Amsterdammarker at the national monument on Dam Squaremarker. This ceremony is usually attended by members of the cabinet and the royal family, military leaders, representatives of the resistance movement and other social groups. At 8:00 p.m., two minutes of silence are observed throughout the Netherlands. Public transport is stopped, as well as all other traffic. Radio and TV only broadcast the ceremonies from 19.00 until 20.30. Since May 4, 1994, the flags, having hung at half-staff during the day, are then hoisted to the music of the "Wilhelmus", the Dutch national anthem. Since 2001 the new protocol says it is correct to let the flag hang half-staff.

The main celebrations in Amsterdam are broadcast by the public broadcasting company NOS, but there are ceremonies in other cities and places as well. Especially notable are those at the Waalsdorpervlakte near the Haguemarker, where many Dutch resistance fighters were executed during the war, and at the war cemetery Grebbeberg, which are broadcast by the commercial broadcasting companies. In many towns, before or after the two minutes of silence, people gather around a monument, listen to speeches, and lay down flowers to remember the dead.

The next day, on May 5, Dutch people celebrate the liberation of the nation from the German occupation of 1940 to 1945.

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