A forest memorial to those who died in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 three years ago will be unveiled in Amsterdam.
In total, 283 passengers – including 38 Australian citizens and residents – and 15 crew members perished when the plane was shot out of the sky over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
The forest, near Schiphol Airport from where flight MH17 took off on its way to Kuala Lumpur, contains 298 trees – one for each person who perished when the plane exploded over Ukraine’s disputed Donetsk region.
The monument takes the shape of a ribbon and was inspired by the black memorial ribbon used to symbolise mourning after the atrocity.
It also features a surrounding ring of sunflowers that will bloom each July.
Relatives of the victims planted the trees in March and many loved ones of the Australians who perished have made the journey to see its official opening to the public, including the families of Sydney man Jack O’Brien and Toowoomba couple Jill and Roger Guard.
The Australian government on Sunday reaffirmed its commitment to bringing the culprits to justice.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop described a Dutch-led prosecution as the best option, saying it would be “independent, fair and transparent”.
A team of investigators that included Australians concluded in September the rocket was fired from territory in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists, however Russia insists the plane was brought down by Ukraine’s military.
Australia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands will attend the MH17 commemorative plaque unveiling near Schiphol Airport.
The embassy in The Hague will also host an event for the families of the Australians who died.