About 90 relatives will speak at the high-security court in Schiphol over the next three weeks.
International investigators say the plane was shot down with a missile fired by pro-Russian rebels.
Three Russians and a Ukrainian are on trial but none will appear in court. All four have denied involvement.
The Malaysian Airlines flight was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on 17 July 2014 when it was downed. It crashed in the Donetsk region, about 50km (30 miles) from the Russia-Ukraine border.