Why is 15 August a day of remembrance?

15 August 1945 marked the official end of the Second World War for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Every year on this date, we commemorate at the Indies Monument in The Hague all victims of the Japanese occupation of the Dutch Indies and the direct consequences of it.

15 August 1945 was a tipping point in Dutch history. The violence of war and the large-scale displacement have impacted enormously on the Netherlands. To this day, the war in Asia still affects many people, families and our community as a whole.

As a consequence of the war, around 2 million people with roots in the former Dutch Indies live in the Netherlands.  All with their own (war) story. A broad mix of Dutch, with backgrounds including East Indies, Moluccan, Papuan, Chinese and Indonesian.

On and around 15 August during the commemorations throughout the country, this shared history is marked by a moment of silence. The Melati, the Indies jasmin, is worn as a symbol of respect, commitment and compassion.


Background information

The Netherlands was liberated on 5 May 1945

At this time the former Dutch Indies had not yet been liberated. Over the following months, all those living there and far beyond continued to suffer the severe oppression of continued Japanese domination.