Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Liberation Day

On 5 May 1945, Nazi German forces occupying Holland surrendered at Wageningen, 15 miles west of Arnhem. Today, 64 years on, this was celebrated nationwide. Celebrations were more muted than in previous years, on account of the attack in Apeldoorn on Queensday, 5 days ago. Thirteen festivals had been organised across the country, with Prime Minister Balkenende opening the one in Zwolle, 45 miles north of Arnhem. This evening, a music festival on the river Amstel in the heart of Amsterdam had been toned down a little, although there was still plenty of swing left. George Gershwin took care of that. Queen Beatrix attended the event, off the Magere Brug near Carré Theatre, to the delight of the crowd lining the canal. Stringent security measures were in place, but the Queen definitely enjoyed the event, as was shown when she sailed off in a Harbour Office craft, waving and smiling at the crowd.

The three central events in the Dutch calendar are now over for another year. They were noteworthy this year. Some would say for the wrong reasons, and that would be true. However, resilience is already showing through, and I would like to think that the country will emerge stronger and more unified out of this. Queensday / Koninginnedag will be back in 2010 - and not a lot changed in its format. More security, yes. But in essence, the same merriment and fun.

No comments: