Performance art installation Franchise Freedom closed Liberation Day in the Netherlands with a drone light show over the Maas river, which Rotterdam residents could enjoy through their windows, from their balconies and from the gardens. A swarm of 300 drones lit up the Rotterdam sky as "an ode to freedom and as a tribute to everyone working day and night to ensure the freedom and health of others," the Rotterdam Partners said.
"Today we are forced to celebrate our freedom from a distance," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Instagram as the Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day from home due to restrictions in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But according to Rutte, this separation only emphasizes the importance of the Netherlands' freedom.
"The message of Liberation Day is louder than ever in today's silence," Rutte said. "Because right now we experience first-hand that security, solidarity and freedom are at the core of our lives. And that we cannot do without it."
"Now is the time to celebrate our freedom. Only in freedom can this fire burn," State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Public Health, Welfare and Sports said as he lit the Liberation Fire on the 5 Mei Plein in Wageningen at midnight on Liberation Day.
The Netherlands' annual war commemoration on Remembrance Day will look very different than usual due to the coronavirus. The actual commemoration on Dam Square will only be attended by King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema, and Gerdi Verbeet of organizers National Committee 4 and 5 May. All Liberation Day festivals have been canceled, the committee announced.
The National Remembrance Day commemoration on Dam Square in Amsterdam will continue on May 4, but without any audience, chairman Gerdi Verbeet of the National Committee 4 and 5 May said to NOS. All 14 Liberation Day parties on May 5 are canceled, in accordance to stricter measures against the coronavirus that the government announced on Monday.
Singer Roxanne Hazes, rapper Snelle & de Lieve Jongens band, DJs Lucas & Steve, and DJ-trio Kriss Kross Amsterdam will be this year's Ambassadors of Freedom for Liberation Day, the National Committee 4 and 5 May announced on Friday.
They will perform at 14 Liberation Day Festivals on May 5th, flying from festival to festival with Defense helicopters, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Netherlands' liberation after the Second World War.
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 Netherlands could get a new annual national day off to honor Liberation Day, politician Paul Blokhuis said on Friday. The second-in-command at the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sports said he would not stand in the way should such policy be introduced.
“There is a lot to be said for [the holiday]. I am the last person to oppose this,” he told radio program 1 op 1.
People in the Netherlands largely agree about what it means to be Dutch, valuing the same traditions and symbols regardless of origin, age or level of education. Dutch also agree on what they consider to be the biggest threats to the Dutch identity - polarization and Islam, the social and cultural planning office SCP found in a two year long study into the Dutch identity titled Dekend aan Nederland.
On Sunday the Netherlands is celebrating Liberation day with various festivals and parties across the country. Prime Minister Mark Rutte will kick off the festivities by giving a speech and then lighting the Liberation Fire at 1:00 p.m. at the Liberation Festival Flevoland in Almere. The lighting of the Liberation Fire is considered the start sign for the 14 Liberation Festivals across the country.
Here follows an overview of Liberation Day parties across the Netherlands on Sunday, compiled by NU.nl.
Bad news for those hoping that the winter weather ended with a cold King's Day. The weather expected for Remembrance Day and Liberation Day does not look much better. It will definitely be cold, and there is even a chance of hail and snow on Saturday, meteorologist William Huizinga of Buienradar said to RTL Nieuws.
Dutch teenagers and adults appreciate the two minutes of silence held on Remembrance Day on May 4th, but teenagers in particular also want more attention to be paid to current wars and the victims of other wars than the Second World War, according to studies by the National Committee 4 and 5 May, NOS reports.
Fine weather is expected for Liberation Day on Saturday. It will by sunny and warm with maximums between 18 and 23 degrees, according to Weeronline. Remembrance Day on Friday will be dry and mostly sunny, with maximums around 13 degrees.
Vandalism at an Apeldoorn apartment left resident Fatiha Chams Eddine (52) too afraid to sleep at home. On Liberation Day the Jewish woman discovered that someone scratched a Star of David and spray-painted the word 'whore' on her basement box in the apartment building where she lives, De Gelderlander reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte kicked off the Liberation Day festivities in the Netherlands on Friday by lighting the liberation fire in Haarlem. The flame was brought from Wageningen to Haarlem last night by a group of blind and visually impaired runners, NOS reports.
Some 1.7 million people currently living in the Netherlands, were alive to witness the liberation of the country at the end of World War II in 1945, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands. That amounts to 10.4 percent of the Netherlands population.
Laren has relatively the most residents who were alive to see the WWII liberation, with 19.5 percent of its population. Bergen in Noord-Holland follows with 17.7 percent, and Roosendaal with 17 percent.
The Netherlands can expect a cool, cloudy but mostly dry Liberation Day today, according to Weerplaza. Afternoon temperatures will range between 11 and 14 degrees Celsius. This weekend the cloudy weather will give way for more sunshine and warmer air streaming into the country will increase maximum temperatures to between 15 an 20 degrees.
Just before midnight the liberation fire was lit in front of Hotel De Wereld in Wageningen by mayor Geert van Rumund - officially ending Remembrance Day on May 4th and kicking off the Liberation Day celebrations. Today the Netherlands celebrates freedom and being liberated after World War II.
In the run up to Remembrance Day on Thursday and Liberation Day on Friday, 89-year-old Dick Woudenberg decided to share his story of growing up in a pro-Hitler household. His parents were prominent members of Dutch fascist party NSB, which he himself later joined, and he grew up with a growing adoration for Adolf Hitler, Woudenberg said on RTL Late Night on Tuesday evening.
Most places in the Netherlands should be able to hold the National Commemoration on May 4th without worrying about rain, according to the Dutch weather services. Liberation Day on May 5th should also be dry in most places. Both Remembrance Day and Liberation Day are expected to be cool, with maximum temperatures around 14 degrees Celsius.
Dutch people increasingly believe that an official day off from work should be granted on May 5th, the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of the Netherlands in World War II. Roughly 70 percent of those surveyed by the National Committee 4 and 5 May want Liberation Day to be a day off for all Netherlands employees.
This is an increase from 2016 figures, when 60 percent of respondents wanted the day off. If this were to be realized but in exchange for another holiday, about 30 percent of Dutch people would choose to substitute it for Good Friday.
Dutch citizens have grown more worried about war and terrorism since last year, but feel less concerned about incoming refugees. People also feel most solidarity towards one another during May 4th’s Remembrance Day and May 5th’s World War II Liberation Day celebrations, according to a survey of 900 people released this week.
A call for eyewitnesses of a liberation plane landing in Amsterdam on May 5th, 1945 produced rare video footage of the actual plane. The 47 second long video was submitted by Els Kronenberg-Willems, whose father made the film, Het Parool reports.
An NS train engineer that made an emergency stop in a tunnel in Nijverdal on Liberation Day, was "under the influence" when he did so, AD reports after speaking to NS.