Thousands flock to Liberation Day festivals

Some 750,000 people are expected to attend Liberation Day ceremonies and festivals today as the Netherlands celebrates the end of World War II.

Lighting the traditional Liberation flame in Rotterdam, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende said it was a symbol of freedom. ‘Fire represents warmth and light. And freedom is so essential in this country,’ NOS tv reported the prime minister as saying. The theme of this year’s celebrations is ‘solidarity, the backbone of freedom’.
Nationwide there are 13 official free festivals, featuring around 200 different acts.
In Wageningen, 100,000 people are expected to attend the traditional march-past by war veterans, including 200 people who served in World War II. Germany negotiated its surrender in the Gelderland town. Spectators were warned to take extra water with them because of the warm weather.
In many parts of the country regional bus services were free as drivers continue their campaign for higher pay. Drivers are campaigning for a 3.5% pay rise and 0.5% rise in their end-of-year bonus.

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