The story of the lost plaque: love, mystery and poetry

‘Affectionately’ being cared for after a long battle

Medical staff tended to the wounded during the Second World War in the Militair Hospitaal (Military Hospital). At the start of WWII, thousands of war victims were treated here. In 1942, the soldiers who had been wounded wanted to show their appreciation, as the care they had received had been so 'affectionate'. The idea was to spoil the nurses for a change and thank them for their care.

The war-wounded organised a ‘day of thanks’ for the staff

To commemorate the occasion, 250 small plaques were handed out to the 300 attendees, which included the mayor of Utrecht.

The idea was to have one large plaque installed in the former Militair Hospitaal

However, it never actually happened. The colonel in charge of the hospital took the plaque home, and for a long time it was presumed lost. Today, you can see the plaque on the open door of the Rijkshospitaal.

A poem

In 1942, the men who had been cared for in the Militair Hospitaal even wrote a poem to express how much they appreciated the nurses:

'Dikwijls falen onze woorden,
Als een dankwoord wordt gezegd.
En dan wordt de dank-gedachte
In iets anders neergelegd...
Als het oor niet kan verstaan soms,
Wat de mond wel heeft bedoeld,
Kan het oog dat wel begrijpen
En 't wordt door het hart gevoeld.'

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