Candlelights at Christmas Eve war-graves Oosterbeek and Wageningen

Foto: Fred Hageman

Maybe the fastest growing tradition: candlelight’s at Christmas Eve on all war-graves in the Netherlands and beyond. A group of ten volunteers managed to get over 200 men, women and children on their feet to burn a candle at the Airborne Cemetery in the Netherlands.

And while in Oosterbeek almost 1800 candles were lit, the 8 war-graves in Wageningen were not forgotten. Over more then 300 locations candles were lit (map)


Almost 100 people volunteer to help, but the double amount came to help. “Unbelievable, in about 45 minutes all candles were burning!” That meant some people who came later, and from further away, were disappointed. “We need to do things a bit different next year. But what enthusiasm and involvement! Really great, this exceeds our expectations!”

The Veluwezoom In Beeld made this movie, but we’ll explain partly what’s been said.

Alderman Jasper Verstand of the Municipaly of Renkum was one of the volunteers who came to help. “It was really impressive. People came early and I think already more than 200 came here.”

It all went a bit faster than the group expected “Fantastic for this group to start something and suddenly realise so many people come to help. That shows how enormous the involvement in Oosterbeek and his surroundings is. Apart from all the candles burning in the dark which is so impressive, the involvement is also very impressive.”

“This is a very beautiful initiative. It started 3 years ago and this year they were able to light a candle at every grave and they should continue to do so. Next year maybe more people will come and we learn from today to do better.”

We cant’ say it’s gonna be more beautiful next year, because it is already beautiful.

“Indeed! We need to do this again next year. The work is more than worth it. It is a beautiful tribute of honour. Not only in September during the commemorations, but also on a special evening as Christmas Eve, all together.”

All candles burn

Jarno Weelinkc is part of the group of 10 people who started the initiative to lit a candle on all, almost 1800 war-graves. We don’t know who is glowing more: the candles or Jarno and his nine friends.

“I would say: unbelievable but yes, they are all burning. Really special how quickly it all went , we did not see this coming. There were so much more people than expected. They were all very welcome and we had some moments to take in consideration for next year. See if we can do this in a somewhat different way but we had the goal to light a candle on every war-grave and we absolutely succeeded.”

During the evening people kept dropping by, our allies had company at Christmas Eve and more candles were placed, at the special ones for the people who placed them.

“People keep coming by and it is sure worth the trouble to come and see the 25th. The candles burn more-less for 48 hours so til halfway Boxing Day. The weather is absolutely great and has surely helped the amount of volunteers and people who came to see. Just great.”

Candlelights at Christmas Eve war-graves Oosterbeek and Wageningen
Maybe the fastest growing tradition: candlelight’s at Christmas Eve on all war-graves in the Netherlands
Airborne Cemetery, British allies, Market Garden News, Oosterbeek, Operation Market Garden, The Netherlands, War Graves, WWII
Market Garden News (English)