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Dutch Royals remember victims of war

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands attended the Remembrance Day commemoration on Dam Square, opposite the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. Remembrance Day is the day before the official liberation day in the Netherlands and used to commemorate only the Dutch victims of the Second World War.

After 1961 the victims of other military conflicts  and peacekeeping missions  are remembered on May 4 as well. The ceremony at the National Monument in Amsterdam is one of the main ceremonies. At exactly 8PM on Wednesday evening, two minutes of silence was observed throughout the Netherlands and for those two minutes public transportation was stopped as well. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima placed a wreath, after which the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb will hold a speech.

Other notable ceremonies are at the Waalsdorpervlakte near The Hague, where many Dutch resistance fighters were executed during the war and at the war cemetery Grebbeberg. All three ceremonies are broadcast live on TV. The ceremony at the Grebbeberg war cemetery was be attended by the King’s aunt and uncle, Princess Margriet and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven.

This year there is a special children’s commemoration at the miniature city of Madurodam, held for the very first time. Madurodam was founded in 1952 as a living memory to war hero George Maduro and is officially a war monument. With this children’s commemoration Madurodam wishes to emphasize the importance of passing on memories to children. Hundreds of children are expected to be present and a speech will be held by youth mayor Noah van Meekeren.

After the memorials today the Netherlands will celebrate its liberation tomorrow with several festivals and activities throughout the country. This is only an official holiday every five years, though this year is coincides with Ascension Day and is thus automatically a public holiday.

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