As I entered this garden, I found myself in a labyrinth of passages flanked by two-meter-high brick walls. The dramatic angular stainless steel mirrors seemed to be hovering above the columns. Upon closer look, names, date of birth and age of death were inscribed on individually stacked bricks.
This is the Nationaal Holocaust Namenmonument or the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names. A memorial where the 102.000 Jewish victims and 220 Sinti and Roma victims can be commemorated individually and altogether. Alongside these bricks, 1.000 extra bricks were left blank to memorialize those remained unknown. A memorial of names of all Dutch Holocaust victims without a grave. A tangible memorial to collectively honour those lost.
According to the official website, between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis murdered an estimated 6 million Jews and hundreds of thousands of Sinti and Roma. Of the 140.000 Jews who lived in the Netherlands in 1940, 102.000 did not survive the war.
So, this memorial was finally erected. 75 years after World War II!
The Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names is designed by the American architect of Polish-Jewish descent Daniel Libeskind (Lodz, 1946). The 1.550 square meter space incorporates four volumes representing the letters in the Hebrew word לזכר, meaning “In Memory of”. The structure is one of the largest names-based Holocaust memorials in Europe. Appropriately, it is located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam where it all happened.
The Nationaal Holocaust Namenmonumen was unveiled on 19 September 2021, by the Dutch Auschwitz Committee and His Majesty the King of The Netherlands.
If you would like to visit …
The monument is open freely to the public from 8am to 8pm.
There are three entrances: Nieuwe Keizersgracht, Nieuwe Herengracht and this one is via the Hoftuin (next to the Hermitage Museum or now called the Dutch Heritage Museum)
The entrances at Nieuwe Keizersgracht and Nieuwe Herengracht are accessible by wheelchair.
To look for specific a name, please scan the QR code available at the monument to locate the exact location of a name plaque.

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