Liberation Day (Photo: Melanie Caitlin)

4th & 5th May: Remembrance Day and Liberation Day

The Netherlands is unique among the other European countries in having two national ceremony days originating from the Second World War: Remembrance Day – ‘Dodenherdenking’ and Liberation Day – ‘Bevrijdingsdag’. Read more  about the history, the rituals, the festivals. On 4th May, Dutch flags fly at half mast and solemn ceremonies commemorating all the Dutch who have died in conflicts worldwide, and especially in memory of those who died in the Second World War. The Netherlands was occupied in May 1940 and many died in the following five years. On 5th May, we celebrate the Liberation of the Netherlands from the Second World War.  We celebrate that we were liberated in 1945 by the German occupation in Europe and from that moment we have been free from war and oppression. Liberation Day has changed in character during the years. Nowadays on 5th May we celebrate freedom in the widest sense of the term: liberation in the past, present and future. Liberation from war but also from other constrictions, like freedom from negation of liberty of voting, of the press, of wearing the clothes that you like. Liberation all over the world, especially where it is threatened. Anyway, 5th May remains a day to reflect on the importance of freedom and realize that freedom is fragile. For freedom in the Netherlands, many have fought and even given their lives.

The rituals

Remembrance Day – 4th May

4th May: The official, nationally televised commemoration begins in the evening with a service in de Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) in Amsterdam. After the service, veterans, victims’ relatives and Prime Minister, a representation of the States General and of the Council Of Ministers Of The Kingdom and of the Royal family proceed to nearby Dam Square and lay wreaths at the National War Memorial. The first wreath is laid by the Prime Minister, who represents the Dutch population. Church bells ring for a quarter of an hour till 20h, when there is a nationwide two-minutes silence. Wherever you will be in the Netherlands at that time, it is appropriate to hold two-minutes silence too. In a shop, at the gym, in a bar… everywhere people respectfully do it. Dignitaries of victims’ groups lay down 5 wreaths for the different groups of war victims, followed by more wreaths laid by the Dutch authorities. The ceremony ends with wreaths laid by children from primary schools in Amsterdam. The number of children is equal to the number of years that we live in freedom in the Netherlands. The memorial has a national character: there are no wreaths laid by representatives of other countries. Wreaths are not laid by countries that were involved in the liberation of the kingdom, nor by countries that have occupied the Kingdom.

Remembrance Day - 4th May

Remembrance Day – 4th May. Creative Commons Wikipedia

Liberation Day – 5th May
The Prime Minister launches the Day’s events, traditionally from a different province each year. Cultural readings and exhibitions reflecting that year’s topical theme follow. The theme for 2016 is: “Freedom is never for granted”. The big event of the day in many Dutch towns is an open air pop festival featuring top acts. Liberation festivals have a long tradition, which started in Haarlem: since 1980 there are festivals in Haarlem, Amsterdam and Wageningen. Since 1994 Liberation Festivals are hold in more provinces. This year 14 festivals are organized in the Netherlands.  Liberation Festivals have become the biggest one-day cultural event in the Netherlands. Nearly one million people annually celebrate freedom. Festivals are also designed to get young people involved. In the evening in Amsterdam, there is an official, televised concert at the Amstel Bridge attended by the King and Queen and government ministers.


Bevrijdingspop (Liberation Festival Party) Haarlem 2023

Bevrijdingspop 2023 will take place on Friday 5 May 2022.

The day before, on Thursday 4 May, the Commemoration Concert will take place on the place of Bevrijdingspop from 8.30 pm.

Information Bevrijdingspop 2023

  • Location: Haarlemmerhout in Haarlem-South
  • Times: 12.00-0.00 hours
  • Both Bevrijdingspop Haarlem 2023 nd the Remembrance Concert 2023 can be visited free of charge.
  • Accessibility
  • Dutch sign language interpreters.

Line up

View the Block Schedule of Liberation Pop 2023.

Shortly, a Bevrijdingspop for everyone! Enjoy!


Dutch flag at half mast in Haarlem (Photo Arianna Ardia)

Dutch flag at half mast in Haarlem (Photo Arianna Ardia)

Bevrijdingspop Haarlem, Main stage (Photo Oana Botezat)

Bevrijdingspop Haarlem, Main stage (Photo Oana Botezat)

myHaarlem at Bevrijdingspop (Photo: Arianna Ardia)

expatsHaarlem at Bevrijdingspop (Photo collage: Arianna Ardia)

Kraantje pappie Bevrijdingspop haarlem

Kraantje pappie Bevrijdingspop haarlem (Photo: Melanie Caitlin)