Prime minister Mark Rutte launched the Liberation festival celebrations in Haarlem by lighting the liberation flame.
In his speech, Rutte said that the Netherlands must cherish and celebrate freedom. ‘In many countries, freedom is further away than ever,’ he said.
He referred to the Haarlem resistance heroine Hannie Schaft and her sisters. ‘Everything they did in the war years, they did with one aim: freedom,’ Rutte said. ‘Everything revolved around that one word.’ We must realise how hard the fight for freedom was and what a high price was paid for it, he said.
Before Rutte spoke, actor Nasrdin Dchar gave the traditional Liberation speech.
— Manue Azoulay (@manue_vno_ncw) May 5, 2017
He spoke about his father who came to the Netherlands as a migrant labourer in the 1960s. ‘In the 1960s, the Netherlands said “welcome” to my father. But the Netherlands of now says “bugger off”,’ he said, referencing controversial comments by the prime minister.
‘We have seen this before. If you do not learn the lessons of the past, your past will catch up with you,’ he said.
Dchar also criticized the way freedom is celebrated on Liberation Day but refugees are left to freeze in Greece. ‘We are in a country where freedom of religion has to be cherished, but at the same time we close our eyes to the growing hatred of everything that has to do with Islam?’
This year’s freedom ambassadors, attending freedom festivals all over the country by helicopter, are De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig and De Staat.
In total 14 formal Liberation Day festivals are being staged: in Zwolle, Leeuwarden, Assen, Almere, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Wageningen, The Hague, Roermond and Vlissingen.
The celebrations end with the traditional May 5 concert on the Amstel river in Amsterdam, which is broadcast live on television and will be attended by king Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima.
— Simen Dorschman ✈ (@Simentweets) May 5, 2017
— Fansingtons (@Fansingtons) May 5, 2017
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