Each year, the ‘Schaduwen van Licht’ (Shadows of Light) monument is the scene of the remembrance ceremony for the Royal Netherlands Navy’s service personnel and the civilian staff of the Royal Netherlands Navy Command who died whilst on active duty, which is held on the last Thursday of May. The monument was created by artist Caroline van ‘t Hoff-Hörchner.
The slightly bent wall is part of the life circle. The three carved human silhouettes symbolise the dead and the emptiness they leave behind. The waves at the top represent the seas and the waves of emotion which death brings. The boat holding the three mourning people exemplifies the bereaved who sail on through their journey through life. The four pillars represent the four elements: earth, water, air and fire and the three silhouettes emblematise the holy trinity of the heavens. As such, the numbers three and four emblematise heaven and earth, i.e.life and death.
The title ‘Shadows of Light’ is in reference to the effect seen when the blazing sun shines down on the monument. ‘Death may have knocked holes in people’s live, there is room for fond memories’.
De Jongh commemorative bench
The museum grounds are also home to the ‘Gedenkbank van De Jongh’ (De Jongh’s Commemorative Bench), which is dedicated to officer Johan August De Jongh who was responsible for a remarkable feat of heroism on 4 October 1917.
That day, torpedo boat HNLMS Pangrango left the port of Den Helder under stormy weather conditions on a cruise run. Whilst crossing from Westgat to Schulpengat, seaman Bartholomeus Bleije went overboard. Trainee officer Johan August De Jongh did not think twice and jumped in after him into a ferocious sea. He just about managed to push the drowning victim out of the water and back on board the ship but ended up drowning himself through exhaustion.