Germany & the Netherlands

The idea for a German Remembrance Day arose at the same time as it did in Britain and France, for exactly the same reasons.  However, in the political instability of post-First World War Germany, such a subject was seen as politically contentious, and there was no official event.  Eventually an annual day of remembrance did spring up called Volkstrauertag, chiefly organised by veterans and the German War Graves Commission, commonly known as the Volksbund.  Although the German Remembrance Day was appropriated by Hitler, renamed Heldengedenktag and brought into line with Nazi ideology, the idea survived the Second World War and Volkstrauertag returned soon after that war ended.

The modern German Remembrance Day harks back to the post-World War I celebration, with events both national and local and the traditional singing of the song, ‘I had a Comrade'.In the Netherlands, Remembrance Day is celebrated on May 4th and is called Dodenherdenking.  Originally, this event was only to commemorate those who died in the Second World War, but in 1961 its scope was widened to include other wars, as well as the peacekeeping efforts in places like Bosnia.  Two minutes of silence are observed at 8pm, and all traffic is stopped, including public transport. There are several ceremonies around the country, with the main one in Amsterdam being attended by the Royal Family, as well as large gatherings at the Hague and war cemeteries throughout the country.