The Oorlogsgravenstichting (War Graves Foundation) maintains 50,000 Dutch war graves around the world. The foundation collects and shares the stories of the 180,000 people registered as war victims in the Netherlands. They also keep memorial books containing the names of 130,000 Dutch war victims without a physical grave. In 2021, the Oorlogsgravenstichting celebrated its 75th anniversary. A moment to be celebrated, because remembrance isn’t only about looking back with sorrow and respect, but also about looking ahead and learning from the past.
IDTV+ came up with a concept for the jubilee celebration that reflected this perspective. In light of the 75th anniversary, we chose to focus not on death, but on life. In the video series Lang zouden ze leven (Long would they have lived), we tell the stories of 52 men and women on the days they would have had their birthday. That content can be viewed through the website, social media and signs with QR codes at graves or key locations.
In this context, however, you don’t reach an audience with content broadcasting alone; it is with a live event that you can make a real impact. That is why we decided to actively connect with the young generation. Six prominent Dutch celebrities, each with their own war story, used their birthday to highlight an important message about war and peace, freedom and democracy. They invited 75 teenagers to their birthday to share stories, commemorate together and engage in conversation.
The campaign spanned the entire anniversary year, kicked off with a press event at the Nationaal Ereveld (National Field of Honor) in Loenen and led to invaluable features in several national newspapers.