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People at a festival in Haarlem for Liberation Day.
Source: Marcel van Leeuwen
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Celebrating freedom on Liberation Day
Published at: 4/30/2024, 12:00 AM

5 May is Liberation Day. On this day, the Netherlands celebrates the end of World War II in the Netherlands in 1945, 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.

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.

'Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei'
Check the website of the 'Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei' (National Committee 4 and 5 May) for more information about the 'Vrijheidsmaaltijden' (freedom meals).

In major cities, you can go to Liberation Festivals

Major cities organise Liberation Festivals with music, dance and other cultural activities. Every year, Dutch musical "Ambassadeurs van de Vrijheid" (ambassadors of freedom) perform in several cities. In 2024 they are: Wende Snijders, Son Mieux, Claude and Flemming. Together with visitors to the festivals, they reflect on the meaning of freedom.

Admission to Liberation Festivals is 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.

Find Liberation Festivals here

Liberation Festivals take place all over the Netherlands. In the 14 cities below you will find the biggest ones:

Noord-Holland

Het Vrije Westen - Amsterdam

Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek

12:00 - 23:00

Free of charge

Bevrijdingspop - Haarlem

Haarlemmerhout

12:00 - 00:00

Free of charge

Zuid-Holland

Bevrijdingsfestival - Den Haag

Malieveld

12:00 - 23:00

Free of charge

Bevrijdingsfestival Zuid-Holland - Rotterdam

Het Park (Euromast)

12:30 - 23:00

Free of charge

Utrecht

Bevrijdingsfestival - Utrecht

Park Transwijk

12:30 to 23:00

Free of charge

Groningen

Bevrijdingsfestival - Groningen

De Drafbaan

12:00 - 23:00

Free of charge

Flevoland

Bevrijdingsfestival Flevoland - Almere

Almere city centre

13:00 - 23:00

Free of charge

Zeeland

Bevrijdingsfestival Zeeland - Vlissingen

Vlissingen city centre

13:00 - 00:00

Free of charge

Noord-Brabant

Bevrijdingsfestival Brabant - Den Bosch

Pettelaarse Schans

12:30 - 23:00

Free of charge

Gelderland

Bevrijdingsfestival Gelderland - Wageningen

Wageningen city centre

12:00 - 00:00

Free of charge

Overijssel

Bevrijdingsfestival Overijssel - Zwolle

Park de Wezenlanden

11:00 - 23:30

Free of charge

Limburg

Bevrijdingsfestival Limburg - Roermond

Roermond city centre

12:00 - 00:00

Free of charge

Drenthe

Bevrijdingsfestival Drenthe - Assen

Baggelhuizen festival grounds

11:30 - 00:00

Free of charge

Friesland

Bevrijdingsfestival Friesland - Leeuwarden

Leeuwarden city centre

13:00 - 23:00

Free of charge

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