This factsheet explores the significance of military conflict memorials in the Netherlands. Since the Second World War, more than 22,000 service personnel and militarised civilians serving in the Netherlands armed services have lost their lives during wars and peacekeeping operations. The fallen are remembered in the Netherlands in a variety of ways, including through the erection of memorials where remembrance ceremonies can take place.
Memorials fulfil an important role for the relatives left behind and for survivors. A memorial is not just a tribute to fallen service personnel; it also has a clear function in the wider process of making sense of what has happened. The memorial provides a specific place where, alone or with others, a person can mourn the loss of a loved one or comrade. The great value attached to memorials by relatives left behind and comrades of fallen service personnel also explains why the vandalism of memorials, such as the theft of 50 bronze plaques from the National Dutch East Indies Memorial in December 2010, provokes so many feelings of grief and anger in them.
Veteraneninstituut, 2014. Memorials factsheet.