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Remembrance Day and Liberation Day

Remembrance Day and Liberation Day

May 04, 2019May 05, 2019
The Netherlands

The Netherlands has a unique way of commemorating the Second World. There are two important days for this particular tribute: Remembrance Day on May 4 and Liberation Day on May 5. The commemoration starts with solemn ceremonies on May 4 as a symbol of respect for all the Dutch who died in conflicts around the world and continues the next day with big events such an open-air pop festival.

Remembrance Day 

The main Remembrance Day ceremonies are attended by the Dutch royal family and military leaders and veterans, with speeches and flower-laying ceremonies commemorating the soldiers and civilians who died fighting in wars across the world. Remembrance Day began as a memorial day specifically for those killed in World War II, but since 1961 it has also included victims of other military conflicts and peacekeeping missions. 

The most famous locations include the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam, the Waalsdorpvlakte near The Hague and at the war cemetery in Grebbeberg. The ceremonies are broadcast live on television and radio across the country. There is a two-minute silence at 8pm every year, which is an important thing to keep in mind if you think you might be in a public place at that time. Public transport and other traffic stop at this time.

Liberation Day

Liberation Day takes place the day after Remembrance Day, celebrating the freedom of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation after World War II. Some sources claim the first Liberation Day took place in 1946, but other sources say it was the previous year.

Liberation Day is a day of national observance, but every five years it’s celebrated as a public holiday, with schools and businesses closed throughout the country. The next Liberation Day public holiday will be in 2020.

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