Liberation Day (Netherlands)

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Liberation Day
Utrecht corso B.jpg
Parade on Liberation Day 1960 in Utrecht
Official name Bevrijdingsdag
Observed by Netherlands
Type National Day
Celebrations Music festivals
Date 5 May
Next time 5 May 2014 (2014-05-05)
Frequency annual
Related to Liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation during World War II
Music festival on Liberation Day 2008 in Zwolle

In the Netherlands, Liberation Day (Dutch: Bevrijdingsdag) is celebrated each year on May 5th to mark the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II.

The nation was liberated largely by the First Canadian Army, which included in addition to Canadian forces the British I Corps, and the 1st Polish Armoured Division, as well as, at various times, American, Belgian, Dutch and Czechoslovak troops. Parts of the country, in particular the south-east, were liberated by the British Second Army, which included American and Polish airborne forces, (see Operation Market Garden) and French airbornes (see Operation Amherst). On 5 May 1945, the Canadian General Charles Foulkes and the German Commander-in-Chief Johannes Blaskowitz reached an agreement on the capitulation of German forces in the Netherlands in Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen. One day later, the capitulation document was signed in the auditorium of Wageningen University, located next door.

After the liberation in 1945, Liberation Day was commemorated every 5 years. Finally, in 1990, the day was declared to be a national holiday, when the liberation would be commemorated and celebrated every year.

On May 4, the Dutch hold "Dodenherdenking," Remembrance of the Dead for the people who fought and died during World War II and in wars in general. There are remembrance gatherings all over cities and in the country, the better-known at the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam and at the Waalsdorpervlakte in the dunes near The Hague, one of the infamous Nazi execution places. Throughout the country, two minutes of silence are observed at 8 p.m. On May 5, the liberation is celebrated and festivals are held at most places in the Netherlands, with parades of veterans and a musical festival in Wageningen, the latter with an estimated attendance of 100,000.

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