Feeling Free

It’s been a week of important dates here in the Netherlands. First the last Queen’s Day, and now this weekend — May 4-5 — we’ve had Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenkingdag) and Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag). Remembrance Day (May 4) started as a day of remembrance for those killed during World War II, although now it’s generally a time to remember all who have died in conflict. It is marked each year by special ceremonies and two minutes of silence at 8 p.m.

Remembrance Day is obviously a more somber day, whereas today, Liberation Day (May 5) commemorates the liberation of the Netherlands from the Nazis at the end of World War II. There are large festivals held in cities across the country and Utrecht is hosting a large one this year, in part due to the Vrede van Utrecht (Treaty of Utrect) ongoing celebrations.

Typically, the Dutch flag is only flown on a handful of official days/holidays. As a result, it’s much more noticeable when it is out, as it was this weekend. It seems that technically, it’s not meant to be flown on a Sunday. However, a number of people didn’t follow that particular rule today. Here’s a bit of info on when the flag should be flown:

The Dutch flag instruction also stipulates on which days the flag should be flown. Of course this includes a selection of popular festivities such as Queen’s Day (soon to be King’s Day) and formal occasions such as Liberation Day, royal birthdays, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, Victory in Europe Day and Koninkrijksdag (Kingdom Day). On these days, the flag may be hoisted from sunrise and must be taken down before sunset. However, as the Dutch flag should never be flown on Sunday, if a celebration happens to fall on that day, the flag is raised the following Monday instead.

Considering the flags were flown on the Domtoren and the Domplein today — even while Prime Minister Rutte was visiting — I’m not sure how hard-and-fast some of those rules are. Anyway, I took a number of photos of the flags flying at various spots around town today. It’s a warm, beautiful day and a great day to celebrate freedom.








3 thoughts on “Feeling Free

  1. Good blog!

    Did you ever see the film/movie (what’s the term in the Neths?) The Polish Bride (dir karim Traidia, 1998)?
    Set on a Dutch farm. Polish woman escaping sex trade hides out with lonely bachelor, becomes his house keeper. Lovely film.
    There is a scene of a special occasion, radio plays national anthem? and a poem/verse, sounds like, is recited – but not if I remember, subtitled.
    I was wondering if this event would be one of these occasions you tell of here.

    • I haven’t seen the film/movie (I use both) but I’ll have a look for it. It sounds like it could have been Remembrance Day. The new king had his first official event yesterday taking part in the ceremony in Amsterdam.

  2. I own De Poolse bruid on dvd, love that film, one of the few Dutch films I actually really like, I can’t remember that particular scene though, but I haven’t watched the film for a long time. If you want you can borrow the dvd, not sure if it’s got subs.

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