Celebrate the Dutch Victory Europe-Day and other commemorative events

Seventy-five years ago today, Gelderland was at the front line. From 17 September 1944 until 5 May 1945, the Second World War was fought in the area between the rivers Waal and Rhine. With a programme full of exhibitions, shows and air landings, liberation festivals, commemorations and other events, the Dutch province commemorates WWII in 2019 and 2020 and celebrates 75 years of freedom in Gelderland.

Commemoration Day – 4 May 2020
Before the liberation celebrations begin, all the victims of the Second World War and other war victims are commemorated on the annual National Commemoration Day on 4 May, which has been held every year since 1946. Commemorations take place in almost every municipality and at many military cemeteries. Additionally, the entire country observes two minutes of silence in memory of the fallen.

Liberation Day – 5 May 2020
On 5 May, The Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day. The exact date on which the capitulation talks took place in 1945. Nowadays, the Dutch celebrate their freedom on that date with events and festivals throughout the country. Wageningen has one of the largest annual liberation festivals. Festivities are celebrated throughout the city with live performances, and there is a liberation show with old military vehicles. Foulkes Festival, a one-day festival in Wageningen, has re-enactment groups, bands and exhibitions by war museums.

Air landings Ginkel Heath – Sat 19 September 2020
Seventy-six years after Operation Market Garden took place, more than 1000 parachutists will jump from airplanes above the Ginkel Heath—a spectacular sight. In the presence of the few remaining veterans, the events during the war and the brave men of 1944 are commemorated at the Airborne Landings. British parachutists of the 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, members of the 11th Air Manouvre Brigade from The Netherlands, paratroopers from the US and several other NATO countries and dozens of parachutists of Parachute Group Holland will jump from various aircraft, including Hercules and Dakotas.

Sunset March – daily
Every day in Nijmegen the Waal crossing in 1944, which was part of Operation Market Garden, is commemorated. On 20 September 1944, the 82nd Airborne Division crossed the Waal at Nijmegen. The goal was to conquer both the road bridge and the railway bridge which ran the Arnhem-Nijmegen line. These events are commemorated daily at sunset. The 48 pairs of lighting columns on the bridge (the number of fallen soldiers) ignite at the pace of a slow march. Every day, a veteran walks the Sunset March at the same pace as the lights go on. Everyone is free to join the veteran on this march.

Tour de Waal – 4 and 5 May
During the Tour de Waal, there will be special activities at 14 locations along the Waal. Visitors can travel from location to location by bicycle using the various ferry crossing.  There will be a column of military vehicles, a Waal crossing by re-enactors and sandwiches will be dropped by plane, The latter refers to Operation Manna and Operation Chowhound, which supplied hungry Dutch people in occupied territories in April and May 1945.

Airborne Walk – 5 September 2020
The Airborne Walk is a tribute to the more than 1,700 British and Polish soldiers who died in the Battle of Arnhem and were buried at the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek. You can walk 10, 15, 25 or 40 km through the beautiful green surroundings where the men fought for liberation in 1944 and 1945.

Bridge to Liberation – 18 September 2020
Bridge to Liberation is an experience with music, special effects, film and dance. In a spectacular fashion, the show takes spectators on a journey of personal accounts of the Battle of Arnhem.  The exciting, beautiful and moving stories make history tangible. Every year, thousands of people experience the impact of war and the value of freedom at the historic John Frost Bridge in Arnhem.

Find more events on the calendar at gelderlandremembers.com.

If you are interested in visiting World War II sites in Gelderland or for more information,
contact Nico de Mol at Visit the other Holland, +31 64 076 39 48 or n.demol@toerismevan.nl.

Photo’s: David Elskamp, Wilfred Bergsma, Herman Stöver, Raphael Drent & Rene Knoop

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