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Nevertheless, it isn’t only Mostar that demands a new space to commemorate the Bosnian War of the 1990s. “Srebrenica is Dutch History” is a campaign that draws attention to the genocide that took place in Srebrenica 25 years ago, where more than 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered while they were supposed to be protected by Dutchbat, a Dutch battalion under the command of the UN, by nationalist Bosnian Serb soldiers and a paramilitary unit from Serbia. The failure to protect these civilians marks a dark chapter in Dutch history and will forever connect Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Netherlands.

However, this shared history lacks the attention it deserves. The genocide is hardly covered in Dutch history education, there is still no national monument to commemorate this event, and the government does not provide structural funding for the annual Srebrenica commemoration in The Hague. To anchor long-term awareness and reflection on this history in various public domains of Dutch society, we developed an online photo series, a short campaign film, an educational website with articles and documentaries, and a temporary monument that stood for three weeks starting on July 11, 2020, the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

The temporary monument comprised 25 large portraits and the stories of 25-year-old Bosnian-Dutch men and women on Het Plein, a public square adjacent to the Dutch Parliament. The 25 young people from different religious backgrounds formed a circle and shared their stories of the war they did not experience. In so doing, they not only kept alive the memory of the 8,372 murdered Muslim men and boys, but formed a protective circle around their next of kin, other survivors from throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dutchbat soldiers, and beyond.

Arna Mačkić

Arna Mačkić is an architect and co-founder of Studio L A and the former head of Architectural Design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. Mačkić is also part of Bosnian Girl, a collective that campaigns for an inclusive historiography and commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide in the Netherlands.

Delany Boutkan, Marten Kuijpers, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Setareh Noorani
Alex Walker