Remembrance of the Dead in the Amsterdam Area
During the annual Remembrance of the Dead ceremony, people all over the country observe two minutes of silence at 20:00, commemorating the civilians and members of the armed forces who have died in war and peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II.
The national remembrance ceremony takes place in Amsterdam at Dam Square, led by the Dutch King and Queen, and the Mayor of Amsterdam. However, many towns and cities host ceremonies, too. Learn more about Remembrance Day in Amsterdam. If you would like to attend a ceremony in your city or town, check with your local municipality for locations and times – some ceremonies for specialist groups also take place in daytime. Do keep in mind that around bigger remembrance ceremonies – especially in regard to the Dam Square event in Amsterdam – traffic and public transport may be diverted for a period before and after, or access limited.
No matter if you attend a ceremony or not, the Netherlands falls silent at 20:00 on 4 May. Public transport providers will typically pause all services, while bars, restaurants and music venues will request their patrons respect the silence. Even on the street, many people will stop to pay respect and reflect.
Celebrating freedom in the Netherlands
On 5 May, thoughts turn to freedom. Liberation Day marks the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of World War II. It’s a celebration of freedom in all its forms, however, not just those fought for in wartime. And it’s also a reminder to fight for more freedom wherever its most needed. A number of official Bevrijdingsdag Festivals take place throughout the Netherlands; one of the biggest, Bevrijdingspop (website in Dutch), takes place in Haarlem; there’s the Vrije Westen festival at Westerpark in Amsterdam; and there’s also an official festival in the heart of Almere. At these you can expect a vibrant mix of pop, hip-hop, dance and world music.
Of course, Liberation Day is for everyone, young or old. Towns and cities typically host a variety of family-friendly events. Also look out for food markets, lectures, film screenings, theatre and dance performances and much more. If you like the idea of celebrating with friends, neighbours or even strangers, consider dining at one of the many Freedom Feasts (Vrijheidsmaaltijden).
If you live in Amsterdam, read more on I amsterdam for inspiration; or visit the website of your local municipality.