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Knapen, Ben

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NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | 29/04/2010

Ben Knapen on Dutch identity after the war

On May 4 the Dutch will celebrate Remembrance of the Dead, the national day commemorating the victims of World War II. Although representatives from Germany have never been invited to the main commemoration on Dam Square in Amsterdam that has nothing to do with past hostilities, writes columnist Ben Knapen in his blog for the daily NRC Handelsblad: "May 4 and 5 form something like our national holiday. But as opposed to in other countries, here we do not commemorate a historical event but rather something that happened to our country: Occupation and liberation. ... It is curious how war - with its innocence, tragedy, victimisation and liberation - has gradually developed as the focus of a national holiday, a moment of national reflection. Of course, quite on principle Germany could never have a place in such a psychological context. This event will forever remain 'too sensitive', after 50, even 100 years. Germans on the Dam would rob the Netherlands of its identity."

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