National commemoration Day 2020

May 4 is the day on which the Netherlands commemorates its victims of war. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were present at the National Commemoration on Dam square in Amsterdam

It was a special commemoration. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, there was no public. In the company of only Prime Minister Rutte, chairman of the National 4 and 5 may committee Gerdi Verbeet and Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam, the Royal couple laid the first wreath, watch and listened to the introduction videos during the laying of the other wreaths and to the 16-year-old Eva Pronk who read her own written poem ‘Vrijheid’ (Freedom)

Special was also that it was the first time that the Dutch head of state give a speech

King Willem-Alexander pay attention to the special circumstances “It feels strange on an almost empty Dam. But I know that you are experiencing this National Commemoration and that we are here together. ”

Then he speek about how utmost lack of freedom looklike on the basis of the story of war witnesses Jules Schelvis

“Straight through this city. Straight through this country. Right before the eyes of their fellow countrymen. It seemed to develop so gradually. Bit by bit.
No longer being allowed to go to the swimming pool.
Being excluded as member of an orchestra.
No longer being allowed to ride your bike.
No longer being allowed to go to college.
Being put out onto the streets.
Being arrested and taken away.

Sobibor began in the Vondelpark. With a sign saying: ‘Jews Not Wanted”.

In his speech, the King mentioned how civilians and soldiers fought for our freedom, but that er was also that other reality. He did not ignore the fact that people also felt abandoded by his great-grandmother Queen Wilhelmina

“Fellow human beings, fellow citizens in need, felt abandoned, unheard, and unsupported, if only by words. Also from London, and by my great grandmother, despite her unwavering and fierce opposition. This is something that won’t let go of me.

In the end the King underscore that the war has still has impact and that we have to make sure it won’t happen again

Even now, 75 years after our liberation, it remains with us. The least we can do is: not look away. Not justify. Not erase. Not brush aside. Not make something ‘normal’ that is not. And: nurture and defend our free, democratic constitution. Because only that is what will protect us from terror and insanity.

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