Dutch Royals Attend Memorial Service For Victims ‘Apeldoorn’

  May 8, 2009 at 4:56 pm by

Queen Beatrix, the prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Princess Margriet and Prof. Pieter van Vollenhoven attended the memorial service for the victms of the Queen’s Day tragedy that was held tonight in the Orpheus theatre in Apeldoorn. Before the service the royals talked to victims and family of victims. This took so long that the service had to start 15 minutes behind scheduele. Apart from the royal family, 1200 other people were present at the Orpheus theatre, among them prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende, vice prime minister Wouter Bos, defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop, the chairwomen of the first and second chamber and the mayor of Almere, Annemarie Jorritsma.

On the stage of the Orpheus theatre six big candles were lit, standing in candle holders. On each candle holder the name of a person who died on April 30th was engraved. The service was led by Jacobine Geel and the Dutch Baroque Ensemble started the service with the canon in D major of Pachelbel. After this the mayor of Apeldoorn, Fred de Graaf, named the six people who died:

Click on image to see photo at telegraaf.nl

Click on image to see photo at telegraaf.nl

Wilfrido Plantijn (71), from Almere
John Veldhuizen (64), from Amersfoort
Netty Martens (50), from Zutphen
José van den Berg (55), from Apeldoorn
Ad Teunissen (52), from Apeldoorn
Roel Nijenhuis (55), from Apeldoorn

At the end of his speech the mayor said the following: ‘Your Majesty (…) we saw the sadness in your eyes and heard it in your voice’. He also said the support of the royal family was very much appreciated by the victims and their families. After the mayor’s speech the royal militairy band ‘Johan WIllem Friso’ played the ‘Lament’ from ‘The Cry of Celts’.

After this it was prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende who spoke. He mentioned that the 100th birthday of princess Juliana was supposed to have been a beatiful day, but it ended in disaster. He said the royal family was deeply effected by the tragedy. The prime minister was thankful for a royal family that really is connected with people in their pain, as he was able to witness himself. After this speech, the mezzo soprano Tania Kross sung an Antillian song called ‘Plegaria’. One of the victims was from Antillian descend and several members of an Antillian dance group are still in hospital.

Click on image to see photo at PPE

Click on image to see photo at PPE

The next person to speak was Nadia van Opstal, whose mother was just released from hospital today. Nadia spoke of her personal experiences of the day, and summerized them as insecurity, fear and sadness. She praised everybody who helped the victims. She also praised the prince of Orange and princess Máxima, who paid her mother and family a visit in hospital. She said that they were all deeply impressed by them, by their warmth and their genuine concern. When Nadia spoke these words, the camera zoomed in on the prince and princess, who both seemed moved to tears by Nadia, as were many. After this speech the Dutch Baroque Ensemble played ”Air’ by J.S. Bach.

The final speaker was Simon Boon, chairman of the Foundation of Orange Festivities (Stichting Oranjefeesten). He described his impressions of the day. After his speech the royal militairy band played the last post, after which a two minute silence was observed. The ‘Wilhelmus’, the Dutch national anthem, was played after which the service was ended.

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