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Liberation Day

Public and National holidays in the Netherlands National Holiday in the Netherlands

Public and National holidays in the Netherlands

When is Liberation Day?

This national holiday is celebrated on 5 May each year, but it is only a public holiday once every five years. Known in Dutch as 'Bevrijdingsdag', it marks the end of Nazi occupation during the Second World War.

History of Liberation Day

At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Netherlands had declared its neutrality from the conflict. However, this did not stop the country being invaded by Nazi Germany on 10 May 1940.

After the landings in Normandy in June 1994, the allied forces had been advancing across Europe with key engagements taking place in southern Netherlands by September 1944.

The Netherlands was liberated in a large part by the Canadians, British and Polish armies.

On 5 May 1945, General Foulkes of the Canadian forces and the German Commander Blaskowitz reached an agreement on the surrender of the German forces in the Netherlands in Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen.

Even though some German troops remained on Dutch soil after 8 May, the date of the surrender of the German forces is celebrated on Liberation Day.

How is Liberation Day celebrated?

Liberation Day was only observed every five years until 1990 when it became an annual observance, though it remains a national holiday only every five years.

Those who lost their lives during the war are also remembered in the Netherlands on 4 May, which is National Remembrance Day. It is not a public holiday. To mark the the loss of life and suffering that occurred during the occupation, a two minute silence is observed across the Netherlands at 8pm on 4 May.

On the 5 May, celebrations are more joyous to mark the freedom of the Netherlands, with parades of veterans and music festivals.

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