Liberation Day in the Netherlands

1f77768e09c05915492c0b8dfea1b5f9In the Netherlands, Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) is celebrated each year on May the 5th to mark the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II.

The nation was liberated largely by the First Canadian Army, which included in addition to Canadian forces the British I Corps, and the 1st Polish Armoured Division, as well as, at various times, American, Belgian, Dutch and Czechoslovak troops. Parts of the country, in particular the south-east, were liberated by the British Second Army, which included American and Polish airborne forces, (Operation Market Garden) and French airbornes (Operation Amherst). On 5 May 1945, the Canadian General Charles Foulkes and the German Commander-in-Chief Johannes Blaskowitz reached an agreement on the capitulation of German forces in the Netherlands in Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen. One day later, the capitulation document was signed in the auditorium of Wageningen University, located next door.

Liberation-of-UtrechtAfter the liberation in 1945, Liberation Day was commemorated every five years. Finally, in 1990, the day was declared to be a national holiday, when the liberation would be commemorated and celebrated every year.

The Liberation Festivals taking place across the country are a highlight of Liberation Day. The festivals will have extensive musical programmes and big-name acts relating to the theme of freedom. At various spots in the city, Dutch bands and international musicians and DJs will perform live.

Liberation Day will conclude with one of the biggest events of the day, the Amstel Concert. Starting at 9.00 p.m., artists from diverse musical genres will perform on an enormous floating podium, with the stately Royal Carré Theatre in the background. The concert will be attended by the King and Queen, as well as all volunteers for the 4 and 5 May festivities.

The logo for May 4 & 5 is a torch from its flame comes a dove of peace. The slogan is: “Keep The Fire Of Freedom Burning”

10 Things you need to know about the end of World War II in the Netherlands