Rituals are of great value. Together with Stichting Arq, the National Committee for 4 and 5 May is studying (2016–2020) rituals of commemoration and celebration in relation to the Second World War and our liberation.
The research on rituals has the express purpose of strengthening the practice of commemorating and celebrating. That goal also explains the main research question: How can rituals of commemorating and celebrating in connection with the Second World War remain meaningful in the future?
To answer this question, the National Committee is looking into the how and why of existing rituals, both on the national and on the local levels, and how the form of a given ritual influences its meaning for various different Dutch citizens. In other words: Who needs which ritual? How are these rituals appreciated, and what are the desires and needs for the future in that respect?
The multiyear study is being carried out in the form of six case studies, each with an interdisciplinary approach. Psychologists, historians, sociologists and experts in the area of rituals studies are participating in the research, and the findings are discussed regularly with other experts from the field.
Since 2001, research agency Kantar Public (formerly Bureau Veldkamp) has been conducting the National Freedom Survey to evaluate the basis of popular support for commemoration and celebration in the Netherlands. The survey was set up to monitor how the Dutch citizens experience 4 and 5 May.
The website of the National Committee for 4 and 5 May includes information on more than 3,900 war monuments that commemorate the Second World War and/or war situations and peacekeeping operations since then.
All these monuments help keep memories alive. A monument can commemorate the entire war or a specific event, individual or group.
Monuments have been erected for the following groups of victims: