News of: Wednesday, May 03 2017,
On May 4, the victims of the Second World War (and officially all later wars) are commemorated throughout the Netherlands.
May 5 is Liberation Day: on May 5 1945, the German Nazi regime capitulated, and Holland was officially liberated.
The main national ceremony for the May 4 commemoration takes place on Dam Square.
The ceremony on Dam Square starts at 7.25pm and is accessible for everyone (free). A few minutes before 8pm, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will lay a wreath of flowers at the National Monument on Dam Square.
It is normally very busy at this time on Dam Square, but there are large outdoor tv screens so that you can follow what is going on.
At 8pm there is a (nation-wide) two minutes' silence to commemorate the victims of World War II. Traditionally, the silence is also observed in bars and pubs, where the music stops for 2 minutes (but this is not observed everywhere). Traffic (and public transport) is supposed to come to a standstill for 2 minutes.
After the 2 minutes' silence there are some speeches on Dam Square, and more wreath-layings, by many organizations. This will take until approximately 9pm.
The entire ceremony is also broadcast live on national tv.
May 5, Liberation Day
May 5 is celebrated as Liberation Day.
One of the main events of that day is the free open-air concert on the river Amstel, near the Carré Theater, a few minutes walk from the City Hall along the Amstel. This concert is the traditional end of all festivities.
The concert starts at 9pm, and is freely accessible. If you would like to attend, it is advisable to come early, to secure a good place. It can get really busy.
There will be hundreds of boats in the river Amstel.
The King and Queen will attend the concert. They will arrive and leave by boat.
Traditionally, when the King leaves after the concert, the song 'We'll Meet Again' (made famous by Vera Lynn) is sung to wave the King and Queen goodbye.
During the day, the main liberation festival will take place in Westerpark, where there will be various performances on a number of different stages.
Freely accessible, from 11am until 11pm.
On May 4 the Dutch flag will be flown half-mast on official buildings. On May 5 the flag will be flown normally.
More information on May 4 and 5 in Amsterdam is (in Dutch) on this website.
National Monument on Dam Square