A significant event observed in The Netherlands is Remembrance Day, or Dodenherdenking on May 4th. Let’s delve into the why behind Remembrance Day and its customs.

understanding remembrance day

Remembrance Day, observed on May 4th each year, is a moment for Dutch people to honor and remember those who lost their lives during World War II, as well as those who have fallen into subsequent conflicts and peacekeeping missions.

customs and traditions

two minutes of silence

At 8 pm on May 4th, the entire nation observes two minutes of silence. During this time, public transportation halts, and people pause whatever they are doing to reflect silently. It’s a moment of unity and respect.

wreath-laying ceremonies

Across the country, ceremonies are held at monuments, war memorials, and cemetries. Officials, veterans, and civilians lay wreaths as a symbol of remembrance and gratitude.

flags at half-mast

Dutch flags are flown at half-mast as a mark of respect for the fallen.

Remembrance day in haarlem

At 6 pm the program kicks off in the St. Bavo Church at Grote Markt. The solemn ceremony begins with an organ performance by organist Anto Pauw, accompanied by the Cero Tres ladies’ choir. Koen Sturm, chairman of the May 4th Committee Haarlem,  will deliver a welcoming address, followed by guest speaker Noémi Prent.

silent march to the monument at the Dreef

At 7:10 pm, a silent march will commence from the St. Bavo Church to the monument located at the Dreef. At 8 pm there will be two minutes of silence, paying hommage to the fallen. A student from the Dreefschool will recite a poem, and wreaths will be laid in honor of the fallen. Mayor Jos Wienen will also attend this ceremony.

other commemorative services across haarlem

At the resistance monument on Jan Gijzenpad, the war monument “The Mourning Woman” on Westergracht, and the monument in Burgemeester Reinaldapark, moments of silence will be observed, and wreaths will be laid to remember those who sacrificed their lives.

highlighting the role of women in resistance

During World War II, thousands of people, including many women, joined the resistance. Yet, their contribution has often been overlooked. This year, the Remembrance Day theme in Haarlem shines a light on the crucial role women played in the resistance efforts.

hannie schaft

Hannie Schaft, often referred as “the girl with red hair”, was a Dutch resistance fighter during World War II. She was born on September 16, 1920, in Haarlem, and she became one of the most famous figures in the Dutch reistance against Nazi occupation.

Tragically, Hannie Schaft was arrested by the German Gestapo just weeks before the liberation of The Netherlands in 1945. She was buried at the Erebegraafplaats Bloemendaal ( Bloemendaal Memorial Cemetry) at Zeeweg in Overveen.


source: Rodi.nl Haarlem