Rutte kicks off Liberation Day festivities

Prime Minister Mark Rutte lit the Liberation Flame in Assen, marking the official start to the Liberation Day festivities in the Netherlands. 

The Prime Minister noted that the highest point of his political run has been meeting two sisters several weeks ago who were in the resistance in the Second World War. He gave the two sisters, Truus and Freddy, now in their twilight years, an honorary distinction.

"I realized how strong you have to be to go into the resistance, if you're 18 or 19 years old", Rutte said.

"We celebrate the 5th of May because we have to be aware that we live in freedom. That is not self-evident", Rutte said. "Look at Syria, Ukraine and other parts of the world."

The Prime Minister called on everyone to keep celebrating that freedom. "Every year, more and more people come to the commemoration and the celebration on the 4th and 5th of May. It lives in the Netherlands, also in the younger generation."

According to Rutte, music and freedom go with one another. "In 1988, on the evening of the celebration of the German unification, Beethoven's ninth symphony was played. That is an ode to freedom. A fantastic moment in which music, politics and freedom came together."

Further, the Prime Minister wished everyone a joyous day. According to the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), the weather for Liberation Day is set to be sunny and dry, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees in the South. Weak to mild winds will come from the coast.

Later in the evening, clouds will roll in, but it will remain dry. Minimum temperatures for the night may reach 10 degrees, quite a bit warmer than it has been.