Feeling Free

Bevrijdingsdag
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.
Bevrijdingsdag

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.

Bevrijdingsdag

Bevrijdingsdag

Bevrijdingsdag

Bevrijdingsdag

Bevrijdingsdag

Bevrijdingsdag

Bevrijdingsdag

Foto Vrijdag: Flags Flying

Koninginnedag
There are specific rules and specific dates when you’re allowed to fly the Dutch flag. It’s not like America, where you’ll see the flag flying yearlong in front of houses, offices, restaurants and just about anywhere else you could imagine. The Dutch flag is only brought out for special occasions. That said, it’s been prevalent this past week, between Queen’s Day, Remembrance Day and Liberation Day. Fortunately, the beautiful weather has led to some beautiful shots of the flag glowing in the sunshine. This photo was taken on Queen’s Day. I loved the light filtering through the tree and its blossoms and the flag providing a splash of color against the more neutral background. Both approaches to flying the flag have their benefits; I wouldn’t say that one is better than another. Perhaps the infrequent appearances of the Dutch flag make it stand out more when it does appear. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Koninginnedag, Take Three

Tulip Burnout
Happy Koninginnedag! Queen’s Day is upon us once again, and so far this one, our third, looks to be excellent. Fine weather, no hangover, no tragedy … The music has started back up already, and will probably go all day. It started last night and ran until after 1 a.m. Last night’s performances included a country/rockabilly group, who also did a reggae song called “I’m Allergic to Ganja”, which they amusingly/weirdly pronounced ganya. I know that’s the Dutch pronunciation of -ja, but the song was in English, so I was expecting the English pronunciation. It made me laugh, anyway. There were also a band doing ’80s hits. They ended, not surprisingly, with Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone”. For those not aware, Golden Earring is a Dutch band.

Anyway, we’re off to wander around and check out what’s being offered at the Vrijmarkt, an open flea market of sorts that is going on all across the country. I got some nice mugs and a royal tin the first year. If nothing else, it will be a slight break from all the music. We’ve just been serenaded by a band doing Dutch country of sorts. We’ve heard variations of “Jolene” and now I think they’re doing a version of “Islands in the Stream”. It’s interesting.
Flying Dutch Flag