Four days before Christmas Eve 2015, Dick Jansen from Burgum, the Netherlands, got the idea to burn candle lights on the war graves in his hometown, just as it had been done for 25 years at the Canadian cemetery in Holten. His second thought was: why not do this in all of the Netherlands? He set up a Facebook action on the Facebook page of Keep Them Rolling, with the idea ´if 15 to 20 people also do this, it would be great ´But it turned out very differently ... the action on social media was massively picked up and shared by many people. The response was unbelievable, and on Christmas Eve there were candles at war cemeteries in over 140 places in the Netherlands. A start of a new Dutch tradition?
Last year the light action has become even bigger. At the start of 2015, there were more than 140 locations where lights burned. In 2016, light was placed at 263 locations in the Netherlands. In 2017, more than 284 locations burned lights at a war grave. And not only in the Netherlands - also abroad. Hundreds of people are now burning a light on Christmas Eve. Dedicated clubs have already emerged to make this a regular tradition. Also visit the Facebook page. How many locations will we light up this year? If you want to participate as well, please follow the step-by-step plan provided on this page.
On Christmas Eve on war graves throughout the Netherlands and also outside a Light burned. Starts at 5 pm.
Do you already have a local organization and perhaps your own FB page, or are you a contact person for the larger honorary fields (from +/- 25 graves)? Let us know and we will publish the address here. This way, you can make a call for volunteers and participants and if desired, raise public awareness for your program.
* Make the administrator of the
cemetery aware of this
* You can use so-called.
* If it is windy you can also use
a glass jar with a tea light. Turn
the bottom of the jar towards the
* There are also "tea lights" using batteries. Then turn it upside down
a glass jar on top.
* Remove the lights again after Christmas
and make sure the grave is tidy and clean again.
* Make sure you have a flashlight or something with you
as it can be dark on the
* Should the cemetery really be closed on
Christmas Eve, then place the lights
before the closing time.
* Check the lights map to see if a light is already being placed on your location.
* Look at the light maps of previous years who placed the lights and maybe you can work something out together for 2018.
* Contact the curator of the cemetery for permission and tell them about this international action.
* Report your promotion to via the Facebook site
Please make a new topic for each location. Your location will then be added to the light card.
TIP for large honorary fields* Contact the local media and report your action and make a call for help (volunteers).
Jeroen Wijgerse from the Netherlands met the veterans Joe Glawson and Jim Carroll and told them about the initiative of the lights on war graves. Find out what they think of it watching his video.
Here an overview map of where lights burn. This map is regularly updated. Click the pin on the card and you will see an FB link of the person who places a light. You may want to meet with this person to put the lights and help each other.
The links below show you where the war graves in your area are located.
Lights map 2017
Lights map 2016
Lights map 2015
If you wish to have lights on the large honorary fields, please contact the local authority or administrator of these cemeteries. This also applies to the cooperation of the war grave foundation or the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Elsewhere on the page you will find links to their internet pages. The CWGC appreciates (though it is not required) that you notify them if you place light on the graves that are being taken care of by CWGC. You can request a notification form here.