Dutch mark 60th anniversary of liberation

6th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

6 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands has celebrated the 60th anniversary of its liberation from the Nazis with music, art and the last parade of war veterans at Wageningen, where the official surrender was signed.

6 May 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands has celebrated the 60th anniversary of its liberation from the Nazis with music, art and the last parade of war veterans at Wageningen, where the official surrender was signed.

Festivals and street activities were held on Thursday in every provincial capital and Amsterdam itself with the theme 'Sharing freedom is the art'. Some 750,000 people partied at the festivals, 10 percent more than last year.

Singer Thé Lau — who wrote the song 'In Freedom' for Liberation Day — was flown by helicopter from festival to festival. The song was also performed by other artists throughout the day and will be heard at other liberation festivals throughout the coming year.

In the morning, Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander said at the start of festivities in Den Bosch that 5 May must also be celebrated as Liberation Day in 60 years time. "It will always be about peace and freedom," he said.

Admitting that in future the day will be without the emotions of those who experienced World War II, Willem-Alexander also said there will remain the "conviction that freedom is the dearest thing we possess".

However, he warned the meaning of Liberation Day should be enlarged "to keep it alive for future generations".

Together with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, the prince visited festivities in Den Bosch. Both of them spontaneously walked around the various stalls, including those from the Dutch Refugee Council and charity Warchild.

Balkenende had earlier lit the liberation flame to officially kick-start festivities.

In the afternoon, the traditional parade of veterans and resistance fighters was held at Wageningen, where the Germans signed the surrender 60 years ago.

But instead of the late Prince Bernhard — who was the commander of Dutch forces in WWII — his grandson Prince Willem-Alexander oversaw the march-past.

Bernhard was in Wageningen when the surrender was signed and traditionally saluted troops during the parade.

It was busier than usual in Wageningen this year because it was the last time the parade was held. Thousands of people stood along the route.

The day was rounded off with the traditional open-air concert on the Amstel in Amsterdam, where Queen Beatrix and thousands of other people watched the performance, held opposite the theatre Carré.

The royal air force orchestra played works from Rogier van Otterloo, Glenn Miller and Ravel, while Simone Kleinsma performed as soloist. She also sang the song of liberty with Natascha Slagtand, of the band Tasha's World.

A variety of music was played this year, such as 'Thank you for the music' from ABBA and 'Dit is een plek om lief te hebben' (This is a place to love) from Toon Hermans. During the song 'Nocturne' from R. Lovland and P. Skavlan, the 12-year-old Mitchell Mungreep played the violin.

Starting at 9pm, the concert continued until 10pm and was broadcast live on NOS.

It started and ended with the song 'We'll meet again'. The song — performed by Vera Lyn in the US as Allied troops departed to Europe — was played as Queen Beatrix, Prime Minister Balkenende and Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen departed from the concert by boat.

On Wednesday, the nation observed a two-minute silence to honour its war and peacekeeping victims. Queen Beatrix and Prince Willem-Alexander led a wreath-laying ceremony at the national war monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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