To commemorate the soldiers and victims who died during World War II, the Netherlands holds a remembrance service on National Remembrance Day on May 4. During this day, many individuals fly their flags at half-mast to signify a grieving period. All are encouraged to join in the 2-minute-long silence at 8 PM to memorialize the victims.
On National Remembrance day on May 4 at 8 in the afternoon, the Netherlands devotes 2 minutes worth of silence to honor the soldiers and other victims of World War II.
The Significance of Dodenherdenking
Annually, the Netherlands celebrates National Remembrance Day on May 4 to honor the soldiers and other victims of World War II and other fatal confrontations, including the 7,600 Canadians who died as they fought to free the Netherlands in 1945.
In remembrance, regardless of your location in the Netherlands, a two-minute-long silence at 8 in the afternoon is done. Not only do people join in by remaining silent for two minutes, but they also involve themselves by hanging the Dutch flag outside or on a flag pole. Usually, the flags are half-mast to indicate a mourning period.
As a national holiday, National Remembrance Day, or Dodenherdenking, authorizes the closing of schools and businesses every five years. The Dodenherdenking aims to acknowledge Netherlands’ role in the deadly war. Many Dutch individuals consistently join in the National Remembrance day, but recently, reports state that younger people find more significance in focusing on current armed conflicts and their victims.
After Remembrance Day, May 5 signifies the celebration of Liberation Day. The public holiday Liberation Day commemorates the end of the Nazi takeover. As flags were at half-mast yesterday, the flag is raised again to signify celebration.
After the war, people deemed mourning victims and celebrating freedoms on the same day inappropriate, and from then, a decision emerged to have two different holidays. (Source: Dutch Review)
How is the National Remembrance Day Commemorated?
Before the 2-minute silence at 8 in the afternoon, the National Monument on Dam Square, Amsterdam, holds a remembrance service. The King and Queen also take part in the commemoration. Before the nationwide silence, people state their speeches and lay wreaths.
For large cities and small towns, the commemoration service is different. As large cities memorialize in town halls or city halls, small towns involve themselves by flying flags at half-mast and leaving flowers on gravestones. Numerous individuals join the National Remembrance Day privately, dedicating 2 minutes of silence wherever they are to give respect.
During COVID-19, the National Remembrance Day included no public gatherings, with the 2-minute silence requested for individuals to do in the comfort of their own homes. And although King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima laid a wreath on Dam Square, there would be no audience.
For Liberation Day in the pandemic, parades and festivals remained absent, unlike usual celebrations. Commonly opened by a Prime Minister, 5,000 runners carry a flame to 200 cities all over the Netherlands. Instead, a freedom bonfire replaced the freedom festival with some events available for a live stream. (Source: Dutch Review)