Support swells to make Liberation Day a national day off

Dutch flags on Liberation Day
Dutch flags on Liberation DayPhoto: compuinfoto/DepositPhotos

Two political parties in the Netherlands want to force the cabinet to take up the issue of making Liberation Day a paid day off from work for as many people as possible. Currently, many people in the country take the May 5 national holiday off from work once every five years.

The issue has cropped up from time to time over the last few years. A new proposal from two parliamentarians would guarantee that the Rutte III cabinet investigate making May 5 a day off, and inform parliament of a way forward by the end of April, reported newspaper AD.

“As far as we are concerned, as many people as possible should be able to enjoy their freedom that day. Literally and figuratively,” said D66 MP Joost Sneller.

The right wing VVD, the party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, has joined an effort initially spearheaded by centrist D66, a coalition partner. “Freedom is what unites us,” said VVD MP Bas van ’t Wout to the AD. He said it is the basis of daily life in the Netherlands, and allows people the ability to determine the course of our own lives. “And we should give that consideration,” he said.

Recently, ChristenUnie politician Paul Blokhuis backed a plan to make Liberation Day a more widely celebrated holiday, while possibly sacrificing the Whit Monday holiday as a form of compromise. Blokhuis is the State Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports.

“In the Netherlands, days off are arranged by employers and employees. If they ultimately do not do enough themselves, we can still intervene,” Sneller said.

Left wing parties Labour (PvdA), GroenLinks, and SP said they support the national holiday change, as do progressive Christian party ChristenUnie and the nationalist PVV.