D.C. Dutch community shaken by Malaysia Airlines tragedy

Mourners continue to add to a growing memorial outside the gates of the Royal Netherlands Embassy Monday in Northwest D.C. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

WASHINGTON – The Dutch community in D.C. is shaken by the loss of 193 citizens who were on board the destoryed Malaysian plane downed in Ukraine.

And Monday the Royal Netherlands Embassy, on Linnean Avenue NW, held a moment of silence for the victims of the crash and opened its doors to allow its local citizens and the general public to express their grief and sympathies.

“There has been an outpouring of support towards the Netherlands,” said Peter Mollema, deputy chief of mission at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Northwest D.C.

Mollema says embassy officials plan to deliver the condolence register to the victims’ families.

The book of condolences will be available to sign from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2 to 4 p.m. on both Monday and Tuesday.

“Being an ocean away, I thought this was a way to show my solidarity to the Dutch people,” said Yanick Saila-Ngita, of D.C., who came to sign one of two books set up inside the embassy.

Mollema says they have heard from many lawmakers and diplomats as well. “We have an extensive network here in the U.S. and all of them have given us messages of support and strength and we appreciate that,” he said.

The Dutch community in D.C. is “shaken by what has happened,” Mollema says.

He says they are asking for prayers for the families that lost loved ones in this tragedy.

Over the weekend a makeshift memorial grew outside of the embassy. Mourners left flower, toys and cards next to the gates. There was also a cardboard sign left that read: “the US stands with the Netherlands.”

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