Today is memorial day. Some things will be as they always are – there will be 2 minutes of silence at 8pm when even the cars will stop around the country. There will be a broadcast across Dutch TV of a ceremony on TV. There will be a poem read by a student who wrote it to commemorate those who died in war. Flags are at half mast, and flowers are laid at monuments – including virtual monuments.
Some things will be different. There will be no crowds at any of the events, we are asked to stay home and commemorate with two minutes silence.
One of the local news sites has published images from the Hague during the war from the City Archives. The one of a tank at Scheveningen harbour struck me.
This year I’m thinking about a group of 112 people belong to Gypsy, Sinta or Roma groups. They are commemorated in a monument near here, I think it’s the first monument I’ve seen that is specifically dedicated to this group. There was a national raid on 16 May 1944 and families were were collected by Dutch police on the orders of Berlin and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. Only thirty survived.
I went for a short bike ride this evening to capture some of the memorials, normally there would be people in all these places, the only people I saw were delivery guys on bikes and, in the Binnenhof, Koninklijke Marechaussee and a lone trumpeter.