Remembrance Day

In the Netherlands remembrance ceremonies are held throughout the year to mark various events. On Remembrance Day all these events are commemorated together.

On 4 May we remember all Dutch victims of war – civilians and military personnel – who have died in armed conflict or peace missions in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or further afield since the start of the Second World War. The National Committee organises a memorial service for survivors, next-of-kin and other guests and the Remembrance Day ceremony at Dam Square, Amsterdam, which the public may attend. Everyone in the Netherlands is asked to observe two minutes’ silence at 20.00, and flagging instructions apply.

Most Dutch municipalities organise a remembrance ceremony on 4 May. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima attend the Remembrance Day ceremony at Dam Square.

History of Remembrance Day

Shortly after the liberation of the Netherlands the Gerbandy government decided to hold the first Liberation Day celebrations on 31 August, Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday. On the evening of 30 August people held silent processions to places where their loved ones had died.

Throughout the country people organised their own remembrance ceremonies. Each year from 1949 to 1955 Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard attended the ceremony for the fallen at Stationsplein, Baarn, near their home. In 1956 Queen Juliana unveiled the National Monument on Dam Square. From 1957 onwards Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard attended the Remembrance Day ceremony held at 16.00 at the National Monument on Dam Square. In 1968 the government made the decision to hold Remembrance Day on 4 May each year. Since 1988 the Remembrance Day ceremony has been held at 20.00.

Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus attended the Remembrance Ceremony in Amsterdam together from 1980 until the Prince’s death in 2002. From 2002 Queen Beatrix and the Prince of Orange laid a wreath at the National Monument on Dam Square. Princess Máxima also attended the ceremony. Since 2013 the ceremony in Amsterdam has been attended by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima.