Liberation Day

Liberation Day Quick Facts - NL

AKA NameBevrijdingsdag, Bevrijdingsdag
HashtagsCompiled on#LiberationDay
Related Hashtags#Bevrijdingsdag, #5mei, #Dodenherdenking
2023 Date5 May 2023
2024 Date5 May 2024
Liberation Day

Liberation Day History

Liberation Day serves to commemorate the victims of World War II and to celebrate the Netherlands' liberation from the Nazis after World War II. WWII was one of the most devastating wars in the history of humankind. Combining two aspects of the War into one weekend serves as a way to embrace both sides of the multi-dimensional war - the cost of human life and the relief of freedom.

Remembrance Day takes place on May 4 while Liberation Day takes place on May 5. The tradition of remembrance in the Netherlands developed through local events, some reference the atrocities of concentration camps while others mark specific campaigns, such as the bombardment of Rotterdam.

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Liberation Day Facts & Quotes

  • 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.
  • On May 4 at 8pm the entire country commemorates the war with a minute of silence.
  • 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.
  • Anne Frank's family hid in the secret annex of the Opekta office buildings in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Four employees knew of the hiding and took precautions, including building a secret bookcase, to hide them.
  • I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. – Anne Frank

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.
  • Find a local event that marks the occasion, different institutions use different rituals, some with prayers and silence, others with discussion and debate. There is a parade in Eindhoven that starts at the 18 September Square, another event called Lichtjesroute winds through Eindhoven’s streets where light ornaments have been installed.
  • Read a book on the history of the Netherlands in WWII. Our favourites include
    1) The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
    2) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
    3) Storming the Tulips by Hannie J. Voyles
  • Watch an information film or documentary. World War II is the subject of many classic films. Our favourites include
    1) Saving Private Ryan
    2) Paths of Glory
    3) Band of Brothers

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