The Liberation flame is lit as Dutch celebrate the end of WWII

The liberation of Utrecht. Photo: Nationaal Archief

The Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day on Friday, marking 72 years since Germany surrendered at the end of World War II.

The celebrations started in Wageningen around midnight where the Liberation flame was lit and torches then taken by 1,300 runners in relay to other fires all over the country. Germany signed the capitulation documents in Wageningen on May 5, 1945. The south of the country had been liberated months earlier.

The focus of this year’s events is Haarlem where actor and campaigner Nasrdin Dchar will give the traditional May 5 reading.

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.

This article was amended to reflect Liberation Day was on Friday, not Thursday.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation