Netherlands Remembers War Dead Amid Corona Controversy

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) – The Dutch king laid a wreath Tuesday at a monument to the country’s war dead amid fresh controversy about reduced liberties in the liberal nation.

King Willem-Alexander marked the Netherlands’ Remembrance Day with his wife, Queen Maxima, and a small group of dignitaries and guests at the national monument on Dam Square in downtown Amsterdam.

The live-televised commemoration was kept small the usual enormous crowds for the second straight year because of coronavirus lockdown measures.

The ceremony, including two minutes of silence, came ahead of the annual May 5 Liberation Day, marking the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War Two.

Dutch comedian, André van Duin, recalled that he grew up amid the ruïnes in the Dutch bombed city of Rotterdam and that his father was forced to work in Germany.

“We didn’t talk much about the war at home. I think it was painful for my father. Later in primary school, I learned about the hundreds of thousands of Dutch people who died,” Van Duin said.

He said he was pleased that despite the coronavirus measures, he could live in a free country where he was not forced to give his speech in German.

It seemed a veil reference to the controversy surrounding a poster published by the nationalist Forum for Democracy party and others reading “On May 5 we commemorate 75 years of liberty” and the years 1945-2020. The last year is marked with a death cross.

It referred to coronavirus restrictions such as a crackdown on protests, lockdowns, and the Netherlands’ first night curfew since World War Two. Additionally, there is growing pressure on people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, despite concerns about possible side effects.

But critics, including the Center for Information and Documentation Israel (Cidi) condemned the poster as playing down the Holocaust and war.

The Forum for Democracy party has denied the allegations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to give a speech Wednesday via a live video connection from Berlin before discussing the theme of freedom with students.

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