Didier Reynders commemorates World War I at the United Nations together with the King and Queen

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders currently accompanies the King and Queen of the Belgians on a working visit to the United Nations (UN) in New York. The royal couple and the minister will take part in a ceremony of commemoration of the First World War later today. Following this homage, they will inaugurate an exhibition of photographs dedicated to those who, coming from the four corners of the world, came to fight on the European soil.

The year 2018 is marked by the commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War, which disrupted the history of Belgium and of the whole world. It remains engraved in the collective memory of our country and explains up to today many of our priorities on the international scene. It is also on its ashes that was born the League of Nations which preceded the United Nations.

The minister and the royal couple will honor the memory of the victims of the “Great War” in the Peace Bell Garden, in front of the United Nations building, where they will be joined by the President of the General Assembly. On the eve of ANZAC day, they will have a special thought for the almost 13.000 Australian and New-Zealanders who lost their lives during the First World War. After a minute of silence, two buglers from the city of Ypres will play the Last Post.

Following this homage, Didier Reynders will inaugurate in the presence of the King and Queen an exhibition of photographs dedicated to the soldiers of the most diverse origins who came to fight on the European soil during the First World War. It is less known that First Nations Indians of Saskatchewan, Inuit of the Labrador, Maoris of New Zeeland and Aboriginals of Australia found themselves trapped in this conflict. This exhibition, organized by the Belgian Foreign Ministry, wants to give them too a space in our collective memory.


Maori William Marsters (New Zealand) buying cakes from a vendor in Belgium. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association. New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918 Ref: 1/1-012755-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand


Spahis (from Algeria), playing and listening to music near the frontline in Belgium 1914-1915 (copyright In Flanders Fields Museum)