Dave Mitchell tweeted this photo to remember his grandfather, Douglas Mitchell, who was part of the Canadian Forces that liberated the Netherlands during the Second World War. Photos of tulips are appearing online in celebration of Liberation Day in the Netherlands on May 5. (Twitter/Dave Mitchell)

Canadians mark 75th anniversary of Netherlands liberation with online tulips

Internet inundated with photos of tulips posted with #Netherlands75 and #TulipsAtHome

Every year on May 5, the Netherlands celebrates its liberation during the Second World War and this year, Canadians are joining from home by sharing photos of tulips online.

Canadian soldiers played a key role in the liberation of the Dutch people who suffered hunger and hardship under German occupiers during the war. On May 5, 1945 – 75 years ago – German troops surrendered in the Netherlands. Three days later, Germany gave its unconditional surrender signalling an official end to the Second World War. Canada also provided a safe haven for the Dutch royal family as more than 7,600 Canadians gave their lives to liberate the Netherlands.

Close to 175,000 Canadians took part in the campaign to liberate the Netherlands, which began in the fall of 1944 and ended in the spring of 1945.

READ ALSO: Friendship between Netherlands and Canada forged during war to bloom in Sidney

Now, May 5 is celebrated as Liberation Day in the Netherlands and follows the country’s National Day of Remembrance on May 4.

Every spring, tulips gifted to Canada from the Netherlands bloom in Ottawa as a symbol of the friendship between the two nations.

This year, to virtually commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and VE-Day, Veterans Affairs Canada encourages people to share photos of tulips online with the hashtags #Netherlands75 and #TulipsAtHome.

People have taken to Twitter and Instagram to share photos of tulips to mark the day. Some are even remembering family members who were part of the Canadian Forces that liberated the Netherlands.

The flag at the Canadian Embassy in the Netherlands also flew at half-mast on May 4 in honour of Remembrance Day.

Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet Francisca of the Netherlands, who was born in Ottawa during the Second World War, recorded a special video message to share with Canadians as well, noting that regular celebrations could not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Canada and Canadians always have a special place in our hearts,” the princess says in the video. “Many Canadian soldiers have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Their graves are tended with love and care.”

Last year, the Parliament of Canada also named May 5 to be recognized as Dutch Heritage Day throughout the country.

READ ALSO: Colwood veteran recalls harrowing experience during Second World War

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


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