A SYMBOLIC forest monument will open to the public in Amsterdam on the third anniversary of the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight that claimed the lives of 38 Australians.
The forest, which sits not far from Schiphol Airport where flight MH17 took off on its way to Kuala Lumpur, contains 298 trees – as a symbolic for one for each person who perished when the plane crashed in Ukraine’s disputed Donetsk region on July 17, 2014.
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.