More than 1,600 relatives of people killed in the MH17 disaster gathered in Amsterdam on Monday afternoon for a memorial ceremony.
The gathering, at the Rai exhibition centre, was also attended by king Willem-Alexander, queen Máxima, princess Beatrix, ministers and MPs.
Prime minister Mark Rutte started the proceedings and spoke about the questions that the relatives of those who died have been left with. ‘What if their holiday was due to start a day later? What if the plane had been delayed?’ the prime minister said. ‘Who has not asked themselves these questions since July 17?’
After the prime minister’s speech, children laid flowers in the centre of the hall. Then Marco Borsato sang Voor Altijd (for ever).
Some of the relatives also said a few words. ‘We feel as if we have lost a limb,’ said Anton Kotte, who lost his son, daughter-in-law and grandson in the disaster. ‘Luckily, the memories will never disappear.’
Everyone on board the Malaysian Airways plane was killed when it was brought down, apparently by pro-Russian rebels, on July 17. Most were Dutch but there was also a sizeable number of Australians and Malaysians.
Outside the entrance to the Rai, flags from the 19 countries who lost people in the disaster were flown at half mast. The ceremony was simultaneously translated into the languages of other victims.
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