Sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire: Dutch celebrate 75 years of freedom

The freedom flame burning in Wageningen. Photo: Vincent Jannink ANP
The freedom flame burning in Wageningen. Photo: Vincent Jannink ANP

The Netherlands celebrates 75 years since its liberation from the Nazis on Tuesday, but this year there are no freedom festivals or concert on a floating stage on the Amstel river.

But as every year, the celebrations kicked off with the lighting of the freedom flame in Wageningen, where Germany signed the capitulation documents on May 5, 1945. The south of the country had been liberated months earlier.

Flames have also been lit in the 12 provinces, not taken by runners as is traditional, but lit at midnight by the king’s commissioner.

All day radio stations have special programming while the Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 Mei, which organises the Liberation Day festivities has collected 75 stories of what freedom means to the Dutch and placed them online.

From 2pm, in Rotterdam, local bands and DJs will be performing at the Rotterdam At Home Fest which you can follow via Facebook or Instagram (@at.homefest).

At 16.55 the song ‘Zing, vecht, huil, bid, lach, werk en bewonder’ (sing, fight, cry, pray, laugh, work and admire) by Ramses Shaffy will be performed by Roxeannae Hazes and all radio stations have been asked to play the track at the same time.

Church bells, including those of the Martini tower in Groningen and the Peperbus in Zwolle will sound out the music. Check out the programme here.

At 7pm DJ Martin Garrix is performing a floating show from a boat, but where the boat will be or where it will travel too is as yet unclear. The concert can be viewed via YouTube.

At 8pm, you can take part in an Upbeatles home pub quiz to test your knowledge of World War II. The quiz is being livestreamed on YouTube and you can answer the questions via Google Forms.

At 8.30, the NOS will broadcast a special concert from the foyer of the Carre Theatre on the Amstel river in Amsterdam, featuring Simone Kleinsma and Roel van Velzen and the Metropole Orchestra.

As usual every year, the concert will end with a performance of We’ll Meet Again.

What are you wearing on Liberation Day this year? The Resistance Museum in Amsterdam is showing its virtual collection of photos featuring 2020 outfits and stories online.

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