Waalsdorpervlakte, Den Haag
52.1157359, 4.3363393 View on map
No dignitaries in office, no official delegations, no speeches. Most people know the commemoration of the dead on 4 May on the Waalsdorpervlakte as a modest, dignified event. A few thousand people take part in the silent march to the simple monument with its four bronze crosses every year. Only the sonorous ringing of the Bourdon bell breaks the silence.
In the dune area between The Hague and Wassenaar, the Nazis executed between 250 and 280 people in the 1940-1945 war years, including many resistance fighters. 215 of them were taken from the nearby 'Oranjehotel', the penal prison in Scheveningen, to the Waalsdorpervlakte.
In memory of all who died there, 30,000 people took part in the first silent march on 3 May 1946. The organising committee had erected four rough wooden crosses in an easily accessible dune hollow. Here those present could lay flowers to honour the dead. The four crosses stood near the actual execution site, which was also marked with a cross. A sixth cross was placed in the dune where 38 random citizens from The Hague were executed. This execution was a reprisal for the attack on the high SS man Hans Rauter. All crosses were later given a layer of bronze and a concrete base, with which they were anchored in the sand. The application for placing a memorial stone was made in March 1947.
In 2008, the monument consists of a long, low concrete border with the dates 1940-1945 in the middle. To the left of the border a stone slab reads: 'Here many fellow countrymen sacrificed their lives for your freedom. Enter this place with due respect'. Behind the border are four bronze crosses, replicas of the original crosses. These originals and the other two crosses, which have also been replaced by bronze replicas, have been handed over to the Fries Verzetsmuseum in Leeuwarden.