Liberation Day party kicks off in Zwolle

This year’s Liberation Day festivities kicked off in Zwolle on Tuesday with junior foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans giving the traditional May 5 lecture.

The theme of this year’s events is freedom and identity. ‘If you know who you are as a country you can better understand others,’ Timmermans said. The Dutch must realise they are part of a society which no longer operates as separate religious and political groupings and which is becoming increasingly universal, the minister said.
The traditional freedom flame was lit in Wageningen this morning and is being carried around the rest of the country by runners. Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende lit the flame in Zwolle at around 12.30pm, launching the festivities nationwide.
Some 750,000 people are expected to attend Liberation Day ceremonies and festivals as the Netherlands celebrates the end of World War II.
There are 13 official free festivals, featuring around 250 different acts, the Telegraaf states.
There will be little in the way of celebrations in Apeldoorn, where there was an attack on the royal motorcade during the Queen’s Day celebrations last week. This is because Apeldoorn traditionally celebrates its liberation on April 17 rather than May 5.
Queen Beatrix will attend the traditional Liberation Day concert on the Amstel river on Tuesday evening. The programme has been slightly altered to reflect the more somber mood following the Apeldoorn attacks. Instead of Malambo by Argentine composer Ginastera, which was seen as ‘too outgoing’, the orchestra will play George Gershwin’s Walking the Dog, Trouw reports.

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