“On the 17th of July 2014, the world was shocked by the devastating report that flight MH17, an international passenger flight from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on its way to Kuala Lumpur, crashed as it flew over Eastern Ukraine. 298 passengers died.”
The National Monument MH17 was officially opened on 17 July 2017. It is a memorial forest consisting of 298 trees planted in the form of a ribbon. Each tree represents a person on board flight MH17, labelled with a number, name, age and nationality. The trees stand for growth, hope and life, according to the initiators. At the heart of this ribbon of trees is an intimate amphitheater accompanied by a stainless steel “iris” sculpture that has all the names engraved on it. During the peak of summer, the blooming trees are surrounded by a wreath of more than 20,000 sunflowers.
Yesterday, I took the kids out and embraced the warm sunny winter day. I can’t believe such a tranquil oasis is less than 15 minutes bike ride away from my house. However, I was expecting a ‘greener’ park. The present trees and sunflowers around the park do look strangely naked against the winter blue sky. I would like to visit again later in the summer time to see the changes.
The National Monument MH17 is open 24 hours a day. It is located within Park Vijfhuizen, near Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, in Vijfhuizen. The monument is easily accessible for national and international visitors from Schiphol Airport and Haarlem when using public transportation, and the availability of free car parking spaces if you are driving.
The entire monument is wheelchair friendly, but do take into account of light slopes and semi-paved paths. Dogs are permitted on the ground if they are kept on a leash. There are plenty of seating area and more park benches surrounding the monument. There is even a generous open-air playground nearby which is fantastic for kids of all ages. You can further enjoy the view of airplanes landing just a distance away.
If you have a chance, go visit! A place of quiet reflection.
Website: https://www.monumentmh17.nl (Dutch)
Address: Vijfhuizerweg (behind number 805), 2141 CP Vijfhuizen.
Getting There: 15 minutes from Haarlem station by bus 300 or 25 minutes from Schiphol airport by bus 300 too. By car, set your navigation to Stelling 1, 2141 SB Vijfhuizen.