The national monument to represent the MH17 disaster

A lasting reminder

Joanne McIntyre - 8 September 2016

When Ronald Westerhuis was commissioned to produce a national monument, he chose stainless steel to create a sculpture that will be beautiful, respectful and long lasting.

About the author

Mrs Joanne McIntyre
Joanne McIntyre is the Editor in Chief of Stainless Steel World magazine, and Conference Coordinator for the Duplex Seminar & Summit.
Email LinkedIn Google+

On 17 July 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight 17 (MH17) was shot down by a Buk missile launched in Eastern Ukraine, where Russian and Ukrainian forces were engaged in bloody conflict. All 283 passengers and 15 crew on board were killed in the flight which had taken off in Amsterdam and was heading to Kuala Lumpur. The shooting down of MH17 was a national tragedy for the Netherlands with 193 of the victims being Dutch. When local artist Ronald Westerhuis was asked to create a national moment he was very aware that the sculpture needed to perfectly encompass the overwhelming sense of loss his country had endured.

“I’ve completed many assignments in my life but this is the most honourable I have ever been asked to do, and the one that has had the greatest personal impact on myself. I travel a lot and flying regularly, and I’m very aware that this could have happened to anybody. ..” Westerhuis explained in an interview posted on his website.

From above the sculpture looks like an eye,

gazing up to the victims in the heavens above.

"The monument is made up of several elements. The rear panel is made of rusty steel which represents sadness. The sculpture in front of made of stainless steel and I’ve removed a part; this represents the loss of the victims. That part has been polished to a high gloss to be reflective to represent memory… The highly polished part reflects on the rear panel, so literally, the memory enlightens the sadness. The final element is that when you fly over it you see an eye that looks up to the heavens. I wanted to give the surviving relatives a connection through an eye looking to the heavens above where the victims are."

Westerhuis is well known internationally for his stainless steel sculptures and his work was featured in Stainless Steel World magazine in May 2016. If you’d like to read the full article, email the Editor in Chief at

Share this