Netherlands celebrating freedom with festivals, 5 May concert
Update 8:50 a.m. - Added details about the lighting of the Liberation Fire in Wageningen in the lead and second paragraph
The Netherlands is celebrating Liberation Day on Friday. Liberation festivals are happening in 14 cities, and the day is traditionally concluded with the 5 May concert on the Amstel in Amsterdam, which the Royal Family also attends. The 96-year-old British veteran Marie Scott lit the National Liberation Fire in Wageningen just after midnight. Scott is the first female veteran to light the fire at the Hotel de Wereld, where negotiations about the capitulation of the German occupies took place in May 1945.
Scott was active during World War II. She worked with the liaison service of the British army in Portsmouth. She relayed messages to the front on and after D-Day, the Allied landing on the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944. Today, about 1,700 relay runners from 87 municipalities will spread the Liberation Day fire to dozens of places in the country for Liberation Day.
Around noon, the former President of the European Council and former Prime Minister of Belgium, Herman Van Rompuy, will hold the 5 May lecture in the provincial house in Zwolle. Prime Minister Mark Rutte will also be there. This year, Overijssel is the guest province for the national celebration of the liberation from World War II.
After the lecture, Rutte will ignite the liberation fire in Zwolle, marking the start of the liberation festivals in the country. The Overijssel King’s Commissioner Andries Heidema will then pass on the peace fire to Hendrik Wust, Prime Minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Runners will bring the torch via Twente to Germany in ten days for the commemoration of 375 years of the Peace of Munster on 15 May. According to the province of Overijssel, it has never happened before that the liberation of the Netherlands and the Peace of Munster have been commemorated together.
Froukje, Tabitha, and MEAU are this year’s Ambassadors of Freedom. They’ll fly through the country by helicopter to perform at various liberation festivals. There are about 300 performances in total, including by Nielson, Snelle, Claude, Karsu, S10, and DI-RECT.
The liberation parade will happen in Wageningen. About 1,500 veterans participate in the parade, which ends at the monument on the 5 Mei Plein in front of Hotel De Wereld.
Freedom meals can be enjoyed in hundreds of places in the country. The idea is that people talk to each other about “freedom and the lack thereof” while eating. Dutch chef London Loy created the recipe for this year’s freedom soup: corn soup with coconut and sweet potato.
The day will be festively closed with the 5 May concert on the Amstel. Trijntje Oosterhuis, Alain Clark and his father Dane, Jenny Arean, Wibi Soerjadi, and Claude, among others, are participating in the concert. NPO1 will broadcast the show in the capital live.
Reporting by ANP