5 years since the downing of MH17: Tributes organised at the National Monument MH17 and Hilversum

It has been five years since the downing of the flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine in 2014, which took the lives of all 298 people on board (196 of whom were Dutch nationals). As a tribute, a small-scale commemoration was held today at Hilversum, as well as a commemoration at the National Monument MH17 at Park Vijfhuizen. 

The memorial at the National Monument MH17. Photo credits: Erikt/Wikimedia commons

The National Monument MH17 at Vijfhuizen

A project started by the relatives of the victims and the MH17 Disaster Foundation (Stichting Vliegramp MH17), it is a forest monument, where there were 298 trees and sunflowers planted in the shape of the commemorative black ribbon.

Chosen by them, it has become the symbol of the tragedy.

Each of the trees that were planted is dedicated to each victim who was lost during the tragedy. You can see this here. The sunflowers are planted around the monument, some of which were specially grown from seeds from Ukraine. They bloom every year during the anniversary of the tragedy.

It is open and accessible for the public 24 hours a day, except for during the national commemoration on July 17, today. Prime Minister Rutte is attending the ceremony as well.


Commemoration for victims of MH17 at Hilversum

Hilversum held a small memorial today in remembrance of all the 298 victims (of whom 196 were Dutch nationals). 15 of the victims came from the region. According to NOS, the Mayor of Hilversum Pieter Broertjes said in his speech, “This long march towards finding the truth is necessary for surviving relatives. Only then can they give the sadness a place to accept fate. Life goes on, even though not a day is the same as before the MH17 disaster. We feel it all of them.”

Downing of MH17: What we know so far

The investigation so far tells us the flight was downed by a BUK missile system, which was fired from a place in Ukraine. It was controlled by pro-Russian separatists at the time of the attack. The missile system is said to have been from the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade of the Russian Armed Forces.

The families of the victims got some closure in terms of holding someone responsible when the Joint Investigation Team revealed the names of four suspects who will be prosecuted next year. They are all going to be tried for murder, and court proceedings will commence in the month of March in 2020. The team was established in 2014 and is comprised of authorities who come from the countries who were most affected (The Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Ukraine, and Belgium).

If you want to know more about it, Bellingcat has released its investigative podcast today.

Sad stuff and we won’t forget the downing of MH17 and the victims… 

Kavana Desai
Kavana Desaihttps://medium.com/@kavanadesai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


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