May 4 is the day on which the Netherlands commemorates its victims of war.
‘During the national commemoration of Remembrance Day we remember all – civilians and soldiers – who have been killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world in war situations or during peacekeeping operations since the outbreak of the Second World War.’
This is the official text of the Memorandum for Remembrance Day on 4 May. Ever since the end of the Second World War, the Netherlands has been commemorating its dead on 4 May. As from 1961, the Dutch victims of the Second World War are remembered together with Dutch victims of other conflicts, wars and peacekeeping missions that have taken place since the outbreak of the Second World War in the Netherlands.
The national observance of Remembrance Day in the Netherlands takes place on 4 May, at 8pm. At that moment, two minutes of silence are observed throughout the country to commemorate Dutch victims of war. A commemoration ceremony is held on Dam Square in Amsterdam in the presence of the head of state and various representatives of both the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Dutch Parliament. This national observance of Remembrance Day is held simultaneously with local commemoration ceremonies in nearly every town and city in the Netherlands. At 8pm, the entire country is silent for two minutes.
On 4 May, all shops are required by law to close by 7pm. The vast majority of the cafés, bars and restaurants, but also casinos, also comply with the National Committee’s request to honour the two minutes of silence. Football matches and large pop concerts are temporarily brought to a halt. In recent years, even a number of online social networks have made it a point to encourage users to honour the two minutes of silence on 4 May. Public transport and road traffic essentially come to a standstill throughout the whole country at 8pm.