Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Thousands of white-clad Amsterdammers march for MH17

People wearing white clothes gather on Dam Square in Amsterdam, during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People wearing white clothes gather on Dam Square in Amsterdam, during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People wearing white clothes gather on Dam Square in Amsterdam, during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 
People wearing white clothes gather on Dam Square in Amsterdam, during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 
People wearing white clothes hold balloons during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 
People wearing white clothes hold balloons during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 
A person holds a white rose during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A person holds a white rose during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People take part in a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People take part in a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People wearing white clothes hold balloons during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Amsterdam, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People wearing white clothes hold balloons during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Amsterdam, on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People pay their respects during a national day of mourning for the victims killed in Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane disaster, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People pay their respects during a national day of mourning for the victims killed in Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane disaster, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People pay their respects during a national day of mourning for the victims killed in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane disaster, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People pay their respects during a national day of mourning for the victims killed in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane disaster, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People pay their respects during a national day of mourning for the victims killed in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane disaster, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People pay their respects during a national day of mourning for the victims killed in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane disaster, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
People release white balloons in the air during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Amsterdam, on July 23, 2014.  -- PHOTO: AFP
People release white balloons in the air during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Amsterdam, on July 23, 2014.  -- PHOTO: AFP
People release white balloons in the air during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People release white balloons in the air during a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People take part in a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
People take part in a silent march in memory of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, in Amsterdam on July 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

AMSTERDAM (AFP) - Thousands of people in Amsterdam dressed in white marched solemnly along the city's canals on Wednesday in memory of the 298 people who died aboard flight MH17, most of them Dutch.

The memorial march came on a national day of mourning for the Netherlands, which lost 193 citizens when the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukraine last week.

"It's important to come together, to show that we're together, that we share the pain of our families and friends," said Mr Leon, 35, wearing a white T-shirt.

"And it's important for everyone to wear white, the colour of hope, which means that we're looking to the future," he said.

The marchers released hundreds of white balloons into the sky as night fell in Amsterdam.

The Boeing jet was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday when it was shot down over a rebel-controlled part of Ukraine. US intelligence officials believe the rebels mistakenly shot the plane out of the sky with a surface-to-air missile.

"It's amazing that in 2014 a passenger plane can be shot down by a missile, I hope they can shed some light on all this," said Mr Tim, 35.

The first bodies recovered from the crash site were flown back to the Netherlands on Wednesday, where they will be identified.

"Anyone could have been in that plane: me, my wife, my friends, whoever," said Mr Martin, an Argentine living in the Netherlands.