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

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Wordless-ish Wednesday: Dodenherdenking

Remembrance Day
Just a few words … Dodenherdenking (Remembrance Day) takes place each year on 4 May. It honors civilians and military personnel who have given their lives in service to the Netherlands since the outbreak of World War II. The flags fly at half-mast, as this one was doing today in Den Haag (The Hague). More about my visit tomorrow.

Another Moment

Dodenherdenking
Today is Dodenherdenking, otherwise known as remembrance day. It’s the commemoration of all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II. (Source)

The main celebration is held in Amsterdam at Damplein, with a national two minutes of silence at 8 p.m. Radio, tv, and I gather even traffic halts at this moment. I will be in Amsterdam tonight, although I’ll be in the Melkweg waiting for the second Flight of the Conchords show. I’ll be curious if they do anything inside at that moment.

Tomorrow is a national holiday, Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation Day), celebrating the Dutch liberation from German occupation during WWII. There will be celebrations and music performances all over the country.

ETA: They did, in fact, observe the two minutes of silence at the Melkweg last night. They had a sign on the door announcing they would do so, and someone came out and announced it at the time.