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European RoyalsThe Netherlands

Dutch King and Queen lay wreath to remember war victims

The Dutch King and Queen took part in a two-minute silence on Friday to remember the atrocities of World War II and commemorate those who died in the war and other armed conflicts. Also attending the commemoration was Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The silence took place at 8 PM without disruption. A group of protestors claimed they would hold a “noisy demonstration” during the silence but were stopped from doing so by a judge. The campaigners announced on Friday they had called off their protest.

The first wreath was laid down in Dam Square by the King and Queen, who did so on behalf of the Netherlands. Following that, the Prime Minister and other government ministers laid a wreath on behalf of the Council of Ministers.

Elsewhere in the country, Princess Margriet and Prince Pieter-Christiaan attended the National Military Commemoration in Rhenen.

During World War Two, the Netherlands was invaded and occupied by Nazi German. German occupation was active in some places of the Netherlands until the German surrender.

The Dutch resistance provided important support to the Allied forces and helped play a major role in the liberation of the country. Resistance members who were discovered faced a guaranteed death sentence, despite this, the Dutch resistance grew throughout the German occupation.

The Dutch government, including Queen Wilhelmina, evacuated to London following the invasion.

The Dutch Prime Minister at the time, De Greer, wanted to negotiate and collaborate with the Germans to establish a government similar to that of Vichy France.  He believed there was no chance of Allied forces winning. He was dismissed by Queen Wilhelmina and replaced.

Winston Churchill famously called Queen Wilhelmina “the only man in the Dutch government.”

She sent out radio broadcasts late at night to the Dutch people, despite being illegal people eagerly waited to hear them.