4 & 5 May: Remembrance and Liberation Day in the Netherlands

4 & 5 May: Remembrance and Liberation Day in the Netherlands

4 and 5 May – Remembrance and Liberation Day – are important dates in the Netherlands as they mark the end of the Second World War by honoring its victims then celebrating freedom after five long years of fighting.

May 4th is Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, when all those who lost their lives during World War II are honored in ceremonies all over the city.

At 8 p.m. there is two minutes’ of silence. This is strictly enforced and applies to trains, cars, planes, bars and restaurants – where customers are warn that the music will stop for a short period of reflection.

The main event takes place on Dam square in the center of Amsterdam, where king Willem-Alexander, queen Maxima and other dignitaries will lay wreathes at the war memorial. I have attended this ceremony twice and let me tell you, there is something incredibly powerful about standing in a silent crowd of thousands.

On this day of reflection, I would like to share with you photos of four of the many poignant WWII memorials in Amsterdam.

Memorial in remembrance of the victims - primarily women - of Ravensbruck.
Memorial in remembrance of the victims – primarily women – of Ravensbruck. It is located on Museumplein, directly across from the Van Gogh Museum.

 

Homomonument on the Keisersgracht in Amsterdam. Jennifer S. Alderson author.
The Homomonument on the Keisersgracht in Amsterdam. It honors all LGBT victims of WWII.

 

Memorial honoring the Canadian troops who helped free the Netherlands
WWII Memorial honoring the Canadian troops who helped free the Netherlands. It is located in a field across the street from the Apollo House.

 

WWII Memorial in Amsterdam honoring Romas who died during the war.
WWII Memorial in Amsterdam honoring Romas who died during the war. It is located on Museumplein, directly across from the Stedelijk Museum.

 

Tomorrow, May 5, is Liberation Day and it is celebrated as exuberantly as the Remembrance Day is somber. If you’re in the city, be on the lookout for free concerts, readings and, theater performances.

 

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