liberation route europe

Liberation Route

Each year on the 5th of May the Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day (bevrijdingsdag).  The 5th of May marks the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany during the second world war.

The nation was liberated largely by the First Canadian Army together with several British infantry divisions, the British I Corps and the 1st Polish Armoured Division. Also American, Belgian, Dutch and Czechoslovak troops worked together to liberate the Netherlands.

The south-east part of the Netherlands were liberated by the British Second Army which included American and Polish airborne forces (Operation Market Garden) and French airborne forces (Operation Amherst).

On 5 May 1945 the Canadian General Charles Foulkes and the German Commander-in-Chief Johannes Blaskowitz reached an agreement on the capitulation of German forces in the Netherlands in Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen. One day later the capitulation document was signed.

On May 4th the Dutch hold Remembrance of the Dead (Dodenherdenking in Dutch) for the people who fought and died during World War II and in wars in general. There are remembrance gatherings all over cities and in the country, the better-known at the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam and at the Waalsdorpervlakte in the dunes near The Hague, one of the infamous Nazi execution places. Throughout the country two minutes of silence is observed at 8pm.

On May 5 the liberation is celebrated and festivals are held at most places in the Netherlands with parades of veterans and 14 musical festivals through the whole country.

Interesting places

  • Anne Frank huis in Amsterdam
  • Resistance museum (verzetsmuseum) in Amsterdam
  • Hollandsche Schouwburg in Amsterdam
  • Museum of war (Oorlogsmuseum) in Overloon
  • Atlantikwall-Museum in Hoek van Holland
  • Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek
  • Rememberance center Kamp Westerbork
  • Museum Engelandvaarders in Noordwijk
  • National liberation museum 1944-1945 in Groesbeek

Various Cemetery and Memorial


  • Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten


  • Canadian War Cemetery in Holten
  • Canadian War Cemetery in Bergen op Zoom
  • Canadian War Cemetery in Groesbeek


  • Overloon War Cemetery in Overloon
  • Airborne War Cemetery in Osterbeek


  • Frence Cemetery in Kapelle


  • Military field of Honor ereveld Breda


  • Nationaal Ereveld in Loenen
  • Militair ereveld in Grebbeberg


  • German Military Cemetery in Ysselsteyn

Photo credits: NBTC Holland Marketing

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