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People at a festival in Haarlem for Liberation Day.

Source: Marcel van Leeuwen

Celebrating freedom on Liberation Day

Published at: 4/28/2023, 11:18 AM
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5 May is Liberation Day. On this day, the Netherlands celebrates the end of World War II in the Netherlands, and people remember that freedom cannot be taken for granted. In this article you can read how Liberation Day is celebrated.

Why Liberation Day?

The Netherlands was occupied by Germany for 5 years during World War II. This was a very dramatic and tragic period in the history of the Netherlands. More than 100,000 Jews were rounded up and murdered. This also happened to other minority groups.

Thanks to the help of friendly countries, the German occupiers signed an agreement on 5 May 1945, thus liberating the Netherlands. This ended the German occupation of the Netherlands. From then on, the Netherlands has celebrated Liberation Day every year on 5 May.

Many Dutch people hang the Dutch flag outside on 5 May. The Dutch flag symbolises the Netherlands' freedom and independence. That is why the flag is hung up at important national moments.

Liberation Festivals

Major cities organise Liberation Festivals with music, dance and other cultural activities. There are well-known festivals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Groningen, Haarlem, Zwolle and Wageningen.

Admission to festivals is usually free. Food and drinks at these festivals can usually only be paid for by debit card. Often you are not allowed to bring your own food and drink to the festival grounds.

Eating together during 'Vrijheidsmaaltijden' (freedom meals)

There are also lectures, exhibitions and educational activities to reflect on freedom and democracy. On Liberation Day, 'Vrijheidsmaaltijden' (freedom meals) are cooked. People come together to eat and talk about freedom, democracy and human rights.

'Vrijheidsmaaltijden' (freedom meals) can be found in various places, such as community centres and schools. Everyone can participate. You can also organise a freedom meal yourself.

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