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Dutch royals remember war victims

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands have attended the National Remembrance of the Dead in the Amsterdam. The National Remembrance of the Dead takes places annually on 4 May. A little before 7 in the evening, the King and Queen walked across Dam square to the Nieuwe Kerk where an emotional service was held. Diederik van Vleuten gave the 4 May Address. Afterwards, they placed a wreath at the National Monument, followed by two minutes of silence throughout the country.

The King’s aunt, Princess Margriet, and her husband, Pieter van Vollenhoven, along with their son, Prince Pieter-Christiaan, were present at the Grebbeberg War Cemetery in Rhenen for a similar service. Pieter van Vollenhoven will also attend the commemoration of the capitulations of the German and Japanese occupying forces in the Netherlands and the former Dutch East Indies tomorrow in Wageningen. Afterwards, he will attend the Liberation march-past. King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Prime Minister Rutte will attend the 5 May Concert which is the traditional closing of the National Celebration of the Liberation. This takes place on and around the Amstel in front of the Royal Theatre.

Before 1961, the annual Remembrance of the Dead was only related to the Dutch victims of the Second World War but now also includes the victims of other military conflicts and peacekeeping missions. Following the national two minutes of silence, the Wilhelmus – the Dutch national anthem – will sound.

The National Remembrance of the Dead is usually broadcast live on television from several places throughout the country. There are also several smaller ceremonies in different cities.

On 5 May, the Dutch people will celebrate the liberation of the country from the German occupying forces with several music festivals throughout the country. On 5 May 1945, the surrender of the German forces in the Netherlands was negotiated in Wageningen.