Home » Liberation festivals nationwide as the Dutch celebrate freedom – DutchNews.nl

Liberation festivals nationwide as the Dutch celebrate freedom – DutchNews.nl

The freedom flame is lit in Wageningen. Photo: Vincent Jannink ANP

Two veterans of World War II lit the national Liberation flame at midnight in Wageningen on Saturday, kicking off a day of celebration nationwide.

Canadese veteran Pierce “George” Brewster, who is 101, and 99-year-old Geoff Roberts from London lit the fire together with Wageningen mayor Floor Vermeulen on the square in front of Hotel de Wereld, where Germany signed the capitulation documents in 1945. 

The flame was then used to light torches which are taken by some 2,500 relay runners to Liberation Day events in more than 100 towns and cities, including the 14 official festivals.

Every year the Netherlands celebrates the end of World War II with parties, festivals and a special ‘freedom soup’.  

This year’s festival ambassadors are Claude, Flemming, Son Mieux, and Wende, who will visit all 14 events by helicopter between them. Festivals are traditionally free but are struggling financially and have appealed for more local authority support to keep them going in future years.

A relatively new addition to the day are the ‘freedom meals’, held at a wide variety of locations nationwide.

The celebrations will end with the traditional May 5 concert on the Amstel river in Amsterdam, which will broadcast live on television and attended by king Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima.

The  KNMI weather bureau says it will be a mix of sunshine and cloud, with some showers in the far north. The temperature will range between 14° in the north and 18° in Limburg. 

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