Dodenherdenkingsdag (Remembrance Day, May 4th) is a solemn day of remembrance for those that were persecuted and perished during World War II. It is followed by Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation day, May 5th) where countrywide people celebrate the freedom that we are all fortunate enough to enjoy.
Most European nations have some form of celebratory affair to mark the occasion, and the Netherlands is no different. Previously celebrated every 5 years since 1945, in 1990, Liberation day, was declared a national holiday in the Netherlands to commemorate and celebrate the end of Nazi Germany’s occupation on May 5th 1945. Liberation day is celebrated on a monumental scale every year throughout the country with festivals, markets and events.
The highlight of Liberation day is the festivals and music. Everyone gets out and about spreading good cheer and harmony.
Bevrijdingsfestival South East
From 12.00 to 18.00, Anton de Komplein in Amsterdam Southeast will have several bands on the music stage, street football for boys and girls between 10 and 15, dance performances, face painting and a bouncy castle for the kids.
Vrijland Festival – SOLDOUT
After huge success in 2013, Vrijland Festival at Amsterdam Roest is back. There will be a diverse international range of house and techno artists. Unfortunately this festival is already sold out.
Het Vrije Westen in het Westerpark
Held at the Westergasfabriek from 11.00 to 23.00 with a varied program of bands, DJs, film, markets, workshops, and kid friendly areas over 7 stages throughout the park. You can stroll through the festival markets, the square of freedom and food court. There’s also plenty to do for the children including, Jam sessions at Junior Jam and a storytelling festival.
Bevrijdingspop is one of the biggest festivals on Liberation day, and is held in nearby Haarlem just 15-20 minutes by train from Amsterdam. The Haarlemmer Hout is taken over by musicians and music lovers alike with several podiums set up through the park. Market stalls are set up as well and a great community atmosphere is present even though it is a huge event. In addition, this year a silent disco organized by the Haarlem collective Je Suis Energy will be taking place for the first time.
Vondelpark Open Air Theater
Open Air Theater also starts on May 5th and is celebrating 40 years this year. With a versatile program of dance, cabaret, film and music, it is a promising diverse series of performances set in the beautiful iconic park. Open Air Theater will be open for the entire summer until September 14th. For More information, ticket reservations and programming visit www.openluchttheater.nl
Buitenspelen (outdoor play) is one for the kids at the Vondelpark Open Air Theater. Starting from 13.00 there will be lots of singing from the Vara Children’s Choir and also a performance of the theater hit ‘The Gruffalo’ by Mr. Monster.
Freedom Feast (Vrijheidsmaaltijd)
Freedom Feast is a fairly new concept forming in 2012, more than 200 public areas have been participating in an initiative to help Amsterdammers unite on Liberation Day with food and conversation. Citizens are also encouraged to throw their own feasts for friends, family and neighbours. A large public dining court is held at Dam Square.
The Homomonument is a gay memorial site in the center of Amsterdam. There will be lots of dancing with DJs and good music with a cheerful atmosphere. It is a free festival and you can support the party by buying drinks at the bar. The party goes from 15.00 to 23.00
Concert on the Amstel
Starting at 21.00 Concert on the Amstel takes place on a huge stage floating on the Amstel in front of the Royal Theater Carré with a symphony orchestra. Royals, representatives of parliament and state council ministers attend the performance, and is free for the public. It will be broadcast on television by NOS live.
The Oracle on the Dam
New to this year’s celebrations is The Oracle on the Dam. From 10.00 to 22.00, a 2.5 meter statue by renowned Atelier van Lieshout will be on display at Dam square. The statue is interactive and will display messages from the public. You can send your text to ‘2255’ beginning your message with the word ‘Orakel’.
Many bands, DJs and music performances also take place throughout the city in Dam Square, Nes Square and Beursplein. There’s no doubt that wherever you walk in the city you’ll find music, joyful cheer and friendly faces.