The Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day every year on May 5, marking the liberation of the country from Nazi occupation during WWII.
Throughout the 1940s, many Dutch cities were gradually liberated by Allied forces from Nazi occupation. And on this day, all those years ago, the Netherlands continues to celebrate the official surrender of the German army.
READ MORE | Photo report: The Netherlands at war 1940-1945
The Dutch celebrated in over 10 cities across the country and some footage of the original celebration has survived! Amongst them, video footage from the Randstad cities of The Hague, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam.
Each city had extremely unique experiences during the war years — so how did they each celebrate Liberation Day?
1. Amsterdam celebration of Liberation Day
Of course, starting with the Netherlands’ capital, Amsterdam has unique stories surrounding Nazi occupation. From the story of Anne Frank to numerous resistance fighters and organisations, Liberation Day was really a moment of celebration for Amsterdammers.
2. The Hague on Liberation Day
The Hague a particularly turbulent time during World War II, including the construction of the Atlantic Sea Wall, the installation of V2 rockets, and the accidental bombing of the Bezuidenhout neighbourhood by the British Royal Air Force.
3. Liberation Day in Rotterdam
Rotterdam is most famous for the Blitzkrieg bombings that destroyed a majority of the old city architecture, resulting in Rotterdam’s uniquely stunning architecture that has shaped the cityscape since the post-WWII years.
Colorised footage brings history to life, giving everyone a sense of what Dutch people felt and experienced all those years ago.
How are you celebrating Liberation Day this year? Tell us in the comments!
Image: Photographer Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2022, and was fully updated in May 2023 for your reading pleasure.