On 5 May, the Netherlands celebrates the day it was liberated.
We celebrate the absence of war, the restoration of the constitutional state after the Second World War and the fact that it enables us to live in freedom. Festivities are held throughout the Netherlands over the course of the day.
Fifth of May Lecture
The national celebration of Liberation Day begins with the Fifth of May Lecture. The Fifth of May Lecture marks the start of our national celebration of Liberation Day and serves as a source of inspiration for the debate with regard to freedom. Each year, the National Committee for 4 and 5 May invites an inspiring speaker to hold the Fifth of May Lecture. The lecture provides a moment of reflection on the vulnerability of freedom within the Netherlands but also elsewhere.
On the Fifth of May hundreds of Freedom Meals take place throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands to celebrate Liberation Day. The meals come in all shapes and sizes and can take place at any time of day. People from all walks of life come together to share a meal and reflect upon the value of living in a free democratic society. Anyone can organize a Freedom Meal. By signing up at the National Committee for 4 and 5 May all organizers can request a free toolkit to turn their meal into a truly special occasion.
At 14 Liberation Festivals held throughout the country, we celebrate both our liberation and the freedom we currently enjoy, but we also pay attention to the presence or absence of freedom in the rest of the world. After all, freedom is not always a given for everyone.
At the Liberation Festivals, young people are reminded not to take their freedom for granted. Collectively, the 14 festivals that take place on 5 May have grown to become the largest single-day cultural event in the Netherlands, with no fewer than a million visitors in the peak years.
Ambassadors of Freedom
Each year, the National Committee announces names of the Ambassadors of Freedom. They are chosen from among well-known Dutch performing artists with a broad fan base. In the run-up to 5 May, they are given maximal visibility in the media to ensure their message about freedom will get across. On 5 May, the Ambassadors of Freedom fly around the country in helicopters provided by the Ministry of Defence. That way, they can make an appearance at each of the festivals.
Fifth of May Concert
The Fifth of May Concert forms a festive conclusion to our national celebration of Liberation Day. Read more about the programme and the performing artists here.
Each year, the celebration of Liberation Day is brought to a festive close with the Fifth of May Concert on the River Amstel in Amsterdam. On 5 May we celebrate the freedom we have been enjoying in the Netherlands since 1945. We celebrate both the absence of war and our life in a democratic constitutional state. Our celebration of freedom takes on real significance when you consider what we commemorate on 4 May.