It's almost that time again. Every year during the National Remembrance Day on May 4, we commemorate the victims of the Second World War and of war situations and peace operations after that. At 20.00 p.m. it is quiet for two minutes throughout the Netherlands, so if you happen to be on public transport, you will stand still for 2 minutes where safety allows because of the Remembrance Day. The King and Queen will lay wreaths on Dam Square in Amsterdam on 4 May on behalf of the entire Dutch population, and (grand)children will lay wreaths on behalf of survivors for various groups of war victims. Prior to the ceremony on Dam Square, there will be a memorial meeting in De Nieuwe Kerk. After 2 years, the National Commemoration on Dam Square is finally open to the public again.
Thursday is Liberation Day and after 2 years of corona and not being able to celebrate, we can finally celebrate our freedom again. There are festive activities all over the country. There are freedom meals, liberation festivals and May 5 lectures across the country. Not everyone is off on Thursday, many companies are off once every five years. In 2020 we had a day off and the next time will not be until 2025. Where we had a commemoration ceremony without an audience last year and the year before and were able to follow the liberation festivals and concerts online, we can finally go out again. May 5 is also meant to make us reflect on what freedom actually means and that freedom is very vulnerable, as is now clear from the war in Ukraine.
There are no fewer than 14 liberation festivals throughout the Netherlands. They can be found in Amsterdam, Den Bosch, The Hague, Assen, Almere, Leeuwarden, Wageningen, Groningen, Haarlem, Roermond, Zwolle, Utrecht, Vlissingen and Rotterdam. On May 5, residents of the municipality of Soest can visit the garden of Paleis Soestdijk. There is much to see and do there between 15.00 and 19.00 pm. According to the organization, the highlight is the arrival of 'Het Gooi Bevrijd'. It comes with a column of army vehicles that were used in the Second World War. The volunteers of this club together form a 'living museum'. Het Gooi Bevrijd will arrive at the palace around 16.30 pm. About eighty vehicles are expected, although there will probably be no tanks on the road because of the war in Ukraine.