Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 11, 2008 12:04 ET

DND: Boots on the Ground in Nijmegen, Netherlands

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 11, 2008) - A contingent of about 205 Canadian Forces (CF) personnel leaves Canada today for Nijmegen, Netherlands, to take part in the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen, a prestigious Dutch marching event Canadian military contingents have participated in every year since 1952. During the four days of the Nijmegen Marches, which take place this year from July 15 to July 18, all military participants must walk 160 km while carrying a standard military rucksack weighing at least 10 kg.

"The Nijmegen Marches is an excellent fitness activity and endurance test that builds morale and develops core military values, including leadership and teamwork, in all participants," said Brigadier-General Raymond Romses, the commanding officer of the Canadian Defence Liaison Staff in London, U.K., and the senior member of the CF contingent. "Our participation to the Nijmegen marches highlights Canada's close connection to the Netherlands. Even now soldiers from both nations are working to stabilize Afghanistan," he added.

The CF contingent includes Regular Force members and Reservists of all ranks and occupations from across the country. Canadian soldiers, sailors and air personnel consider it an honour and privilege to be selected for the gruelling four-day event. During the months of training required for selection, candidates build physical and mental stamina by marching, on average, 700 km with their rucksacks.

CF participation in the Nijmegen Marches includes tributes to Canadians who lost their lives in battle during the First and Second World Wars. On the way to Nijmegen, the CF contingent will visit the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France to hold a memorial ceremony in cooperation with the Royal Canadian Legion. During their stay in the Nijmegen area, the CF marchers will visit Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, where more than 2,300 Canadian soldiers and airmen who died to liberate the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945 are buried.

The Nijmegen Marches is also the world's largest walking event, attracting thousands of civilian participants as well as hundreds of other military teams. More than 44,000 marchers from at least 50 nations are expected to participate this year.

Notes for news and assignment editors:

Interviews can be arranged between Canadian media outlets and Canadian Forces personnel who are in Nijmegen by contacting the Public Affairs Officer on location, Captain VG Winter, at 613-697-2963.

As still imagery of the Nijmegen Marches is obtained, it will be posted on the Combat Camera website at www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca

For further information, visit the official website of the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen at http://www.4daagse.nl/index.asp?taal=en&pagina=homepagina&interactivepage

For information on Canadian Forces participation in the Nijmegen Marches, visit http://www.forces.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Information: 1-866-377-0811 / 613-996-2353
    After hours: 613-792-2973
    www.forces.gc.ca