The Dutch National Remembrance Day 2023
The Netherlands’ Remembrance Day took place at the Sachsenhausen Memorial in BerlinMay 04th, 2023
Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Germany Ronald van Roeden at the May 4th commemoration in Sachsenhausen Memorial.
The Dutch National Remembrance Day, also known as Dodenherdenking in Dutch, is a solemn occasion dedicated to the commemoration of the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ victims of wars and peacekeeping missions since the beginning of World War II. This day is observed on May 4th every year, one day before the Netherlands’ Liberation Day. The main Remembrance Day ceremony takes place at the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam. The Dutch King and Queen, along with other dignitaries, attend this ceremony to lay wreaths and pay their respects. The ceremony also includes a speech by prominent figures and the playing of the Last Post, a bugle call that has become synonymous with remembrance ceremonies around the world. In addition to the main ceremony in Amsterdam, many smaller commemorations are held throughout the country and around the world. These ceremonies may take place at war memorials, cemeteries, or other significant locations.
The Netherlands has a strong tradition of remembrance, and the Remembrance Day ceremonies are an important part of the country's culture. Dodenherdenking serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom and peace, and it is an opportunity for people to reflect on the importance of peace and unity in the world. On Thursday 4th May 2023 a national hearing took place in the Sachsenhausen Memorial for Dodenherdenking. In his speech for the occasion, the ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Germany Ronald van Roeden reflected on the importance of commemorating as a commitment to ensure that there will be no more places like Sachsenhausen. The director of Berlin’s Anne Frank Zentrum, Veronika Nahm, spoke as a German guest speaker during the memorial ceremony. The director highlighted the importance of involving young people in collective thinking, giving examples of how the Anne Frank Zentrum pushes youngsters to actively stand up for equal rights and teaches them to react in discriminating situations.
Another important guest speaker at the Sachsenhausen Memorial commemoration was Micha de Winter, emeritus professor of pedagogy at the University of Utrecht and son of Max and Bertine de Winter, survivors of the Sachsenhausen camp. Prof. Dr. Micha de Winter recalled that when the war broke out, his father Max was a 20-year-old talented chemical analyst in training. When the persecution of the Jews started in the Netherlands, Max was deported to Auschwitz with his great first love, Chelly. There, Chelly gave birth to their daughter, but the two were tragically killed shortly afterwards. Micha’s father was later taken to Sachsenhausen, which he luckily survived. During his speech, Micha de Winter pointed out how despite commemorations like Dodenherdenking should be about the unimaginable suffering people have gone through, at the same time hope and optimism must be offered to young generations. Indeed, youngsters need a perspective for action, a feeling that people, together, can contribute to improving the world.