Bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo – the memory of the battle remained vivid in the Netherlands for a long time
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    Bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo – the memory of the battle remained vivid in the Netherlands for a long time

    ©Belga
    ©Belga

    The battle of Waterloo, the bicentenary celebration which will take place in a few days, remained vivid in the minds of the Dutch. Until the start of the Second World War, they celebrated “Waterloo Day” (Waterloodag) every year. After the battle of Waterloo, the Netherlands created “Waterloo Day” in 1816, to remember the Dutch victims and their contribution to European history. Religious services, fêtes, and parades were held on this day. The biggest event was organised in 1865, to mark 50 years since the battle. Around 2,000 veterans took part in the ceremonies that year. The last big “Waterloo Day” was held in 1915, to celebrate the centenary. The Netherlands kept up the tradition during the First World War, as they remained neutral and were not involved in the fighting.

    “Waterloo Day” stopped at the beginning of the Second World War. Only the historical interest remains.

    The Netherlands, which fought in the European coalition against France, sent thousands of men to fight in the battle of Waterloo.

    On the 18th of June, the Dutch royal couple will attend an official commemoration ceremony. This traditional ceremony will be attended by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, the Dutch royal couple, the Grand Dukes of Luxemburg, a member of the British royal family, important German and French representatives, as well as descendants of warring nobles of the time. They will exchange a symbolic handshake.    

    Jason Bennett (Source: Belga)