Liberation Day

Liberation Day Quick Facts - NL

AKA NameBevrijdingsdag, Bevrijdingsdag
HashtagsCompiled on#Bevrijdingsdag, #DutchLiberationDay
2025 Date5 May 2025
2026 Date5 May 2026

Liberation Day

Liberation Day in

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Liberation Day History

Liberation Day marks the Netherlands' liberation from Nazi Germany during World War II. This observance serves as an acknowledgment of the country's past, celebrates its regained freedom, and reminds the public about the value of peace, freedom, and democracy. It emphasizes the citizen's responsibility towards maintaining these privileges, and the observance fosters a sense of unity and national pride among the Dutch people.

Liberation Day originates from the 5th of May 1945, when the German armed forced officially surrendered, liberating the Netherlands from a grueling five-year occupation during the Second World War. This historical milestone played a significant part shaping Dutch society and collective memory, impacting generations. Over the years, Liberation Day has evolved to not only commemorate the past but also to reflect on contemporary issues surrounding freedom and human rights. It remains a potent symbol for the Dutch people, reminding them of the resilience and steadfastness their predecessors showcased during the years of occupation.

In the Netherlands, Liberation Day is typically marked by a series of events and festivities throughout the country. Parades, concerts, and public readings are organized to celebrate the day, involving people of all ages. A notable feature is the 'Liberation Flame', which is lit in the city of Wageningen at midnight, indicating the start of the national celebrations. In tandem with these joyful events, solemn ceremonies are held to remember the victims of the Second World War. Liberation Day is an annual public holiday in the Netherlands, observed on the 5th of May.

Top facts about Liberation Day

  • As the Netherlands was not active in World War I, the country did not have a tradition of remembrance like other European countries. As such, the country is free to mark the event in its own way.
  • The Netherlands was neutral in the War until occupied by Nazi Germany on May 10, 1940, 5 days after the bombing of Rotterdam. The country was liberated almost five years later by Canadian Forces on May 5, 1945.
  • The liberation of the Netherlands also marked the return of Queen Wilhelmina, who was forced into exile in Britain during the German occupation. Her return symbolized the restoration of Dutch sovereignty.
  • During the winter of 1944-1945, known as the "Hunger Winter," the Germans cut off food and fuel shipments to the western parts of the Netherlands, leading to mass death from cold and hunger. This desperate period ended with the liberation.

Liberation Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Take a moment to consider the sacrifices made by millions during the conflict. At 8pm, the country holds a two-minute silence to commemorate those who have lost their lives in military conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
  • Visit the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam where the Dutch King leads an official memorial ceremony.
  • Display the Dutch flag outside your home, workplace, or public area to show solidarity and honor the liberation. The flag is often flown at half-mast until 6 pm and then raised to the top to symbolize freedom.
  • Visit significant historical sites related to the war, such as the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the Airborne Museum in Arnhem, or the Hoge Veluwe National Park, which played a role in the resistance movement.

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