Commemoration ceremony at the Roll of Honour for the Fallen 1940-1945

On May 4 2020, the commemoration ceremony at the Roll of Honour for the Fallen took place in the House of Representatives. The President of the House, Khadija Arib, gave a speech and laid a wreath at the national monument, together with President of the Senate Jan Anthonie Bruijn, on behalf of the States General. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Paul Blokhuis, State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport, laid a wreath on behalf of the Council of Ministers.

The commemoration ceremony differed from that of previous years because of the measures surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. This year, the Roll of Honour for the Fallen was moved from the entrance hall of Binnenhof 1A to the Central Passageway, where there was more room for the attendees.

Seventy-five years of freedom

“It's a real shame that the activities planned this year to celebrate 75 years of freedom have been so overshadowed by the coronavirus crisis. Many things have been cancelled or postponed. As House of Representatives we decided that the commemoration should go ahead on 4 May, with some changes," said Speaker Khadija Arib. “Particularly in this significant year of commemoration it is important to stop and consider the horrors of the Second World War and the meaning of freedom and democracy, and to honour those who fought and died for their country during the war.”

Living in fear

In her speech, the Speaker talked about how everyone in these times feels restricted in their freedom and yet we realise, maybe more than before the present crisis, just what it means to be living in fear and to not feel safe or free. After the speech there was a short film in which pupils from the Johan de Witt Scholengroep in The Hague read out poems. Just like every year, a page in the Roll of Honour was turned. The wreath-laying was followed by a minute's silence.

Commemoration and celebration

The House of Representatives is commemorating 75 years of freedom. This is taking place in different ways and, because of the coronavirus crisis, differently to the original plans. Besides the commemoration ceremony which took place on 4 May, there are a number of online activities. These include a virtual guided tour of historical locations in the building, and film clips of Members of Parliament talking about what freedom and democracy mean to them.