Dutch celebrate Liberation Day
5 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — Festivities around the Netherlands on Friday emphasise freedom and unity to mark Liberation Day.
5 May 2006
AMSTERDAM — Festivities around the Netherlands on Friday emphasise freedom and unity to mark Liberation Day.
The events not only celebrate liberation of the Netherlands from the Germans and Dutch colonies from the Japanese in 1945, but also freedom in general.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende opened the festivities in the northern city of Leeuwarden, where former prime minister Ruud Lubbers is the guest speaker for the annual 5 May lecture.
Throughout the day a total of 500 bands will perform at 13 festivals, with exhibitions, debates and other events expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people.
Balkenende and Queen Beatrix are the guests of honour at the 5 May concert on the Amstel in Amsterdam at the end of the evening.
This year is the first time a veterans' parade has not been held at Wageningen, where the German forces surrendered in 1945. Due to the thinning of the ranks of the old soldiers, a freedom parade is being held instead, with 1,200 veterans accompanied by 800 schoolchildren and students.
Reform Minister Alexander Pechtold has been criticised by Dutch Jewish group CIDI for agreeing to debate with Dyab Abu Jahjah, the founder of the Arab European League (AEL), in Wageningen on Friday. The debate passed off quietly.
- Wreaths lain at the Peace Day monument in the Osdorp district of Amsterdam during Thursday's Remembrance Day commemoration were destroyed sometime later the night. The district council expressed shock that yet again youths in Amsterdam have destroyed tributes to the 100,000 Jews and others killed during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II, and in other conflicts. Young Muslims have been blamed in previous years for similar acts of desecration.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news