In the Netherlands, there are various different days that have meaning. You have the 27th of April for Koningsdag, 5th of December for Sinterklaas to name a few. On the 4th and the 5th of May, these are very important days in the Dutch calendar. The 4th of May is Remembrance Day, or Dodenherdenking in Dutch and 5th of May is Liberation day, or Bevrijdingsdag in Dutch. This blog will be talking about Remembrance and Liberation Day.
Remembrance of the Dead Day (Dodenherdenking)
On the 4th of May, the Netherlands holds a day called Remembrance Day, or Dodenherdenking. Every year the Netherlands honors all the people and the armed forces that served and gave their lives during peace keeping missions and (armed) conflicts since World War II and there after.
Every year, people gather to pay their respects to those who died during this time. One of the main commemorations takes place in Amsterdam where the royal family, members of parliament, survivors of the war and relatives of those who served gather to hang wreathes in honor of the dead.
At 8pm, the whole country comes to a stand still and honors a 2 minute silence. This is such an incredible and empowering thing because literally everyone and everything stops. And I mean everything. Trains will stop at 8pm for 2 minutes. People on the highway will stop for 2 minutes. The whole country stops to pay its respect on Remembrance Day. When I first found out about this, I was in awe with just how respectful the Dutch people are. After the 2 minute silence is over, a rendition of the national anthem is played.
Most houses in the Netherlands will have a small flag stand that either sits in their garden or on the front of their house/garage. On the 4th of May, people will put the Dutch flag up half mast outside to show respect. This is done from 6pm until sundown.
It is a rather amazing scene if you are out and you see houses flying the Netherlands flag.
Remembrance Day is a day to remember everyone who died serving the country and a day of respect. But Liberation Day is the day to celebrate!
Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag)
Liberation Day is celebrated on the 5th of May. This day marks the end of the Nazi occupation during World War II. Liberation Day is a day to celebrate freedom! In 1945, the German army surrendered.
There are many different celebrations and festivals that take place throughout the day. Liberation Festivals have a wide variety of live music and DJs will perform until the early hours of the morning. Lots of alcohol and drinks are also available for festival goers.
From a day of remembrance to a day of celebrations, the 4th and the 5th are days that happen every year to celebrate freedom and independence and to show respect.
Do you have days of the year to celebrate freedom? A remembrance day? Let me know!