Every year on May 5, the Netherlands celebrates its liberation during the Second World War and this year, Canadians are joining from home by sharing photos of tulips online.
Canadian soldiers played a key role in the liberation of the Dutch people who suffered hunger and hardship under German occupiers during the war. On May 5, 1945 – 75 years ago – German troops surrendered in the Netherlands. Three days later, Germany gave its unconditional surrender signalling an official end to the Second World War. Canada also provided a safe haven for the Dutch royal family as more than 7,600 Canadians gave their lives to liberate the Netherlands.
Close to 175,000 Canadians took part in the campaign to liberate the Netherlands, which began in the fall of 1944 and ended in the spring of 1945.
Now, May 5 is celebrated as Liberation Day in the Netherlands and follows the country’s National Day of Remembrance on May 4.
Every spring, tulips gifted to Canada from the Netherlands bloom in Ottawa as a symbol of the friendship between the two nations.
This year, to virtually commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and VE-Day, Veterans Affairs Canada encourages people to share photos of tulips online with the hashtags #Netherlands75 and #TulipsAtHome.
— Suzanne de Abreu 🏡 (@SuzannedeAbreu) May 5, 2020
People have taken to Twitter and Instagram to share photos of tulips to mark the day. Some are even remembering family members who were part of the Canadian Forces that liberated the Netherlands.
My grandfather, Douglas Mitchell was part of the Canadian forces that liberated the Netherlands. Here is a picture of him in uniform with the #Liberation75 tulips that we planted last fall. #BloomingLib75 #Netherlands75 #CanadaRemembers #LestWeForget pic.twitter.com/J1Aqtt25vg pic.twitter.com/YU79QBOYd3
— Dave Mitchell (@DaveMitchell_3) May 5, 2020
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Today is a celebration of liberation. Seventy-five years ago, 7,600 Canadians gave their lives in the effort to liberate the people of the Netherlands during WWII, while Canada provided a safe haven for the Dutch royal family. Looking forward to this anniversary, the Dutch Royal Family sent Shawnigan 75 tulips bulbs for us to plant last fall. Here they are in May, blossoming to remind us of sacrifice and to celebrate freedom. #canadaremembers #netherlands75 #tulipsathome #canada
The flag at the Canadian Embassy in the Netherlands also flew at half-mast on May 4 in honour of Remembrance Day.
— Canada in NL (@CanAmbNL) May 4, 2020
Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet Francisca of the Netherlands, who was born in Ottawa during the Second World War, recorded a special video message to share with Canadians as well, noting that regular celebrations could not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Canada and Canadians always have a special place in our hearts,” the princess says in the video. “Many Canadian soldiers have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Their graves are tended with love and care.”
Last year, the Parliament of Canada also named May 5 to be recognized as Dutch Heritage Day throughout the country.