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4 and 5 May


4 and 5 May are two important dates in The Netherlands. On 4 May the country remembers war victims starting from the second World War to current wars. On 5 May Dutchies celebrate the freedom their country gained after German capitulated on 5 May 1945.

These two days mark the end of the second World War in The Netherlands in particular. During the second World War German invaded The Netherlands on 10 May 1940 by bombarding Rotterdam (note:that’s why there are hardly any old buildings left there, Rotterdam architecture is modern). Four days later Dutch government capitulated. Since then German had occupied the Netherlands until the country was freed by the allies and all over Europe the war was ended in early May 1945.

If you happen to be in The Netherlands on these two days, you could attend the national remembrance ceremony at the Dam in Amsterdam. Dutch King leads the commemoration by setting 2 minutes of silence in memory of those who died and lost at war. All over the country there are the same tribute held to war victims.

Originally this 4 May memorial service was to remember victims of the World War II as the country didn’t play a role in the World War I. However, since the past couple of year, 4 May is also dedicated to remember victims of more current wars, like Yugoslavian war in the nineties and Syrian war which is still going on now.

On 5 May the Low Lands celebrate the freedom. It is based on the date when The Netherlands was officially freed from Germany. On 5 May 1945 Canadian general Foulkes sent for German general Blaskowicz to sign the capitulation document in Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen. Blaskowicz asked 24 hours to study it, the next day he signed it. This is the reason why the Freedom concert is centered in Wageningen each year on 5 May with performances from well-known bands, dj’s and singers.

The national comites also holds the freedom party in 13 other cities. These free entry freedom concerts are unique because the bands, dj’s and singers who perform are transported by a helicopter to reach one venue to another. And as it is known, Dutchies know how to party. The festivities are closed by a concert on the Amstel canal, in Amsterdam.

So, travellers; if you happen to be in The Netherlands on 4 and 5 May, you know where to go.

The idea of celebrating freedom is amazing because it is not something one can take for granted. Freedom nowadays in my residence country means not only not in war but also freedom to do and say what I want. To summarize the freedom the people of The Netherlands are celebrating today; it is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four freedoms:

  • freedom of speech
  • freedom of worship
  • freedom of want
  • freedom of fear


Speaking about freedom celebration I want to share my personal experience. I was quite taken aback during my first year here when I first heard about 5 May freedom celebration. The Netherlands celebrate being freed from German while it has not even officially acknowledged 17 August 1945 as the day Indonesia (its former colony, called Dutch East Indies) declared its independence, up until today. This stays as an important glitch in history storytelling. Dutch version is that The Netherlands handed over the independence to Republic of Indonesia in December 1949, after 4 years of war.

Well, history is written by the victor or history is written by the actor?

Any how, I am thankful to be able to live in a country where I don’t have to worry or afraid being a minority or even being a woman. Otherwise I would not have been able to stay here for almost 21 years.

source: 4&5meinnederland

8 thoughts on “4 and 5 May

  1. wah aku baru tau nih sejarah Mba, pas aku tanya Jan kenapa hari ini libur, dia blg ada hubungannya sama agama Katolik, trs dia nyebutin gt pke bahasa Belanda. btw, passs bgt ada temen aku outing kantor ke belanda dan sampe kemarin di sana, aku langsung kasih tau soal party itu hehe.. thank you for sharing ini mba ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Kebetulan tahun ini 5 Mei jatuhnya sama dengan Hari Kenaikan Yesus Kristus Astrid. Resminya sih Freedom Celebration 5 May ini hari libur sekali per 5 tahun.

      Jadi ngga salah si J bilang 5 Mei tahun ini hari keagamaan, memang betul. Cuma tahun depan 5 Mei tetep ada freedom celebration tapi Hari Kenaikan Yesus Kristus jatuhnya tanggal lain.

  2. Makasih banyak Mbak Yo ilmunya. Sedih baca penutupnya deh. Bahkan di interview kerja recently masalah suku/agama/ras bahkan ditanyakan. Dan kejadian terakhir kemaren memang mengerikan banget, eh masih ditambah komentar orang-orang berkuasa yang ya ampun bikin sedih banget…

  3. One thing that clings into my mind after reading the article: Dutchies know how to party ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy liberation day, Netherlands! Indeed, even after 1945 you have liberated so many people, me included.

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