1916 - 2016: Germany and France commemorate Battle of Verdun [fr]
French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have marked 100 years since the Battle of Verdun. The 10-month battle in 1916 was the longest in the First World War. 300,000 soldiers were killed, with hundreds of thousands wounded.
Angela Merkel and François Hollande were welcomed with military honours in front of the National Necropolis of Douaumont. German film director Volker Schlöndorff was responsible for the artistic planning of the ceremony. 3,000 young people from Germany and France re-enacted the battle. At the end of the ceremony, Angela Merkel and François Hollande together lit an "eternal flame" in the Ossuary of Douaumont, home to the remains of around 130,000 unidentified French and German soldiers.
The Chancellor and the President also unveiled a commemorative plaque and visited the permanent exhibition in the refurbished memorial. For the first time ever the names of both French and German soldiers who lost their lives are carved in the ceiling of the entrance hall.