Plaquette Prinses Irene Brigade
Kerkplein, Den Haag
52.077611124516, 4.3071582013275 View on map
It was Queen Juliana who on 2 May 1985 in the presence of 250 veterans unveiled the plaque commemorating the arrival of the Princess Irene Brigade in The Hague on 8 May 1945. The Prinses Irene Brigade (PIB) was a special unit within the Dutch armed forces. It consisted of Dutch soldiers and policemen who managed to escape to England in May 1940. They were joined by England fighters and Dutch citizens from abroad who fulfilled their military service or volunteered. Resistance fighter and Englander Erik Hazelhoff Roelofzema, better known as Soldier of Orange, was one of them. On 27 August 1941, the brigade was presented with a banner by Queen Wilhelmina. Since then they carried the name Prinses Irene Brigade.
The objective of this brigade was to liberate the Netherlands. Therefore the PIB were part of the invasion in Normandy in August 1944. After a long road northwards, they liberated the city of Tilburg in late October 1944. At the end of April 1945, they fought their last heavy battle near Hedel. Then came the capitulation. On 8 May, the brigade made a liberation march from Utrecht, via Woerden, Alphen aan de Rijn and Leiden to The Hague. Everywhere they were festively welcomed. The sober commemorative plaque reminds us of that entry.
Every year on 8 May, this entry is commemorated in The Hague. Until 2010, this took place at the plaque at the old city hall on the Groenmarkt. Since then, the commemorations take place at the larger Irene monument at the Burgemeester de Monchyplein. The plaque itself has been given a new home and now hangs fifty metres away in a more spacious spot next to the side entrance of the Grote Kerk.