Canadian Armed Forces teams complete the 2017 Nijmegen Marches

News Release

July 21, 2017 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today marks the end of the 101st annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen in the Netherlands. This year, more than 200 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members from across the country participated in the marching event, marking Canada’s 65th year of participation.

The CAF contingent, commanded by Colonel Geoff Abthorpe, marched 40 km a day for four days, an effort culminating in a five-kilometre victory parade. The parade was attended by thousands of spectators who cheered the CAF contingent in commemoration of the Canadian soldiers who liberated the Netherlands from Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

Originally a means by which the Dutch infantry aimed to increase their long-distance marching and weight-carrying ability, the Nijmegen Marches have evolved into an international four-day event that draws over 45,000 civilians from over 50 countries, in addition to 5,500 military participants, to challenge their physical and mental endurance. The CAF has participated in the Marches every year since 1952.


“The Canadian contingent should be very proud of their achievements. Individually they have overcome the formidable physical and emotional challenges presented by the Nijmegen Marches, and as a team they have performed flawlessly as they paid tribute, on behalf of all Canadians, to our nation’s fallen at Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and Groesbeek. This incredible Canadian contingent, consisting of marchers from the Canadian Armed Forces and special guest marchers from various organizations, should be proud of their accomplishments in the 2017 Nijmegen Marches, during which they have admirably answered the call to service in this, our 150th Anniversary year.”

Commodore Haydn Edmundson, Chief of Staff for Military Personnel Command

“I am so impressed by the strength of character that our marchers demonstrated once again this year at Nijmegen. Our teams were well prepared, and persevered through heat and rain to complete this physical and mental challenge, and I am very proud of each member of the contingent.”

Colonel Geoff Abthorpe Commander Joint Task Force Nijmegen

Quick Facts

  • The CAF contingent in the 2017 Nijmegen Marches was comprised of 13 teams from across Canada, generally of 11 marchers each, plus special guests and support staff.

  • The CAF marchers were from the Army, Navy and Air Force, various ranks and trades, Regular and Reserve Force, male and female, speaking both Official Languages, and of diverse backgrounds.

  • While in Europe, the CAF contingent commemorated Canada’s First World War legacy with ceremonies at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, and at the Passchendaele Canadian Memorial and the Menin Gate memorial (in Ypres) in Belgium. Additionally, a ceremony occurred on Day 3 of the Marches at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in the Netherlands, to remember fallen Canadians from the Second World War.

Associated Links


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