I’ve blogged in the past about the Dutch version of Remembrance Day – 4th May, the day before Liberation Day, when the Netherlands was formally freed from German Occupation in 1945. Its a day when all those who have died in war or times of strife are remembered, and is very close to the average Dutch person’s heart.

As we always try to do we settled down this evening at 6.55 for our own little ceremony: we light a candle, and watch (if we can) the ceremonies on Dutch TV via the internet. This year was no different. Shortly after or just before the end of the 2 minute silence at 7pm (8pm Dutch time), there was a mass movement of people in the Dam, the central square where the National Monument is situated. Heart in our mouths, we sat there, clutching each other, both of us thinking “NO!”, and praying it wasn’t a terrorist strike, while the Dutch Royal Family and politicians were rushed to safety. You can see the whole thing on the video below, although any commentary will be in Dutch, alas. If i find anything on the BBC/English sites i will post links later.

Turned out it was simply someone fainting and falling against a metal barrier, which sounded like a shot. Given the situation last year where someone had driven a car at the Dutch Royal family, people were understandably nervous, but all due respect to the Dutch Queen & Royal family, they came straight back out, once the true situation was clear, even though they must’ve been nervous and shocked – Hell, WE were shocked, still are, and we’re nowhere near it….

Fortunately the person who fainted had light head wounds, but is otherwise okay – when it happened, someone nearby started screaming which certainly didn’t help matters. I can only thank the Gods that it wasn’t a terrorist attack – the amount of people in that square, it would have been a terrible, terrible event….

Update: I’m now getting from Michiel (who is getting this from various Dutch news sites) that no one fainted: the whole incident was started by a guy who was either talking to himself or on the phone during the 2 minute silence and who was asked to be quiet and be respectful by members of the public. Reports at the moment describe the man as being dressed like an orthodox jew, which is really strange. the man’s response to said “shushing” was to start screaming – and of course, the panic was then triggered, including a metal barrier being pushed over, which made the sound like a shot that Michiel heard. Some people were hurt in the panic, it looks like several children were hurt and at least one little boy has had his leg broken, poor thing. I’ll post more as i know more. Still nothing on the BBC though.