May 4th & 5th

You probably noticed there is something special with this week. And with that I don’t mean the amazing party we had last Tuesday or the weather that is finally getting a little bit better. You have probably noticed the university is closed on Friday! But why?

Let’s start with the second day, Friday May 5th. On this day the Netherlands celebrates the liberation of the occupation by the Nazi’s in the second World War. the Netherlands was liberated by (among others) the Canadians on May 5th 1945. Originally Liberation day was celebrated once every 5 years, in 1990 the government decided to make it an annual official Dutch holiday.

On May 4th the Netherlands remembers the people that died during World War two and other wars the Netherlands was involved in. On this ‘remembrance of the death’ there are multiple ceremonies throughout the country. The most famous one on the Dam square in Amsterdam where the King will pay his respect. Another location that is well known is in the dunes near the Hague, where the nazi’s had an execution place. At exactly 20.00 the whole country will be silence for 2 minutes. Most stores will close early and even some trains will stop for 2 minutes. You can watch the ceremony on television at 18:45 on NPO 1 channel.

On May 5th there are festival in a lot of places in the Netherlands. They all celebrate the independence and liberation of the Netherlands and are often free! You should definitely check one out. Here you can find an overview of the locations of the biggest festivals. (unfortunately only available in Dutch).