Wageningen full of special activities celebrating 75 years of freedom

5 May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of the capitulation in Wageningen. This is why the City of Liberation is holding extensive commemoration activities in 2020. The official start will be on 20 February, 75 days before 5 May, and numerous special activities will follow until 1 September. On that date 75 years ago, the residents of Wageningen were able to return to their homes after having been evacuated during the war. 


In the anniversary year as well as in the years to follow, the focus will be on the theme of freedom in the broadest sense of the word, highlighting the theme of ‘You make a difference’. Prior to 5 May, this theme will be visible everywhere throughout Wageningen. Everyone will be asked to help decorate the city and fly the special anniversary flag so that the city will seem to breathe ‘freedom’.


For everyone

Alderman Lara de Brito: “As the City of Liberation, 2020 will be a very special year for us. We think that it’s important for all residents of Wageningen to feel part of this anniversary, which is why many diverse activities are being organised. Because it’s never too early to start discussing what freedom means, the mayor and I will tour all of the schools to talk with the children.”


Make it personal

Toon van Asseldonk, chair of the National Committee for Commemorating Capitulations 1945: “In the years ahead, we are going to focus on making freedom personal because 75 years of freedom is also about your own future. The theme of freedom has to be accessible, because it relates to everyone in one way or another. Being aware of and experiencing what it means to be free is essential to this theme. Via the campaign ‘Vrijheid: jij maakt het verschil!’ (‘Freedom: you make a difference’), you’re going to see, hear and feel this in Wageningen.”


Official start 20 February

The official start of the anniversary programme, scheduled for Thursday 20 February, will consist of the special performance ‘Vannacht naar dag’ in the city hall at dawn. Then the anniversary flag will be hoisted above the main entrance to the city hall. At 6 pm, a delegation from Wageningen and Gelderland will participate in the Sunset March in Nijmegen. This is a daily tribute to the Allied soldiers who fought for the liberation of the Netherlands. Wageningen will then symbolically take up the baton from Nijmegen by preparing the events to commemorate and celebrate 75 years of freedom from the perspective of ‘Gelderland Remembers’. 


Levenslicht unveiled

Prior to the official start, the temporary Holocaust monument ‘Levenslicht’ will be unveiled on Sunday 26 January. This ceremony will be held at 7 pm on Walstraat opposite the Jewish monument, which reminds us of the synagogue that stood at that location until early May 1940.



Both prior to and following 4 and 5 May, numerous anniversary activities will be held. In addition, mayor Geert van Rumund and alderman Lara de Brito will visit primary schools with an educational programme about 75 years of freedom. You can find news on the programme’s website and/or follow the news on Twitter or Instagram.


4 and 5 May 

This year’s 4 and 5 May celebrations will be extra special. On the night of 4 May, we will not only light the Freedom Fire and run the National Freedom Fire Relay Race, but these events will be preceded by a multimedia spectacle at Hotel De Wereld. On 5 May, everyone can again join in the annual Liberation events. Wageningen will welcome veterans and pelotons from the Allied countries, various speakers will explain how they make a difference, and there will be an international Freedom breakfast. Moreover, in the days leading up to the Liberation celebrations, you can attend special lectures on freedom and/or a Freedom film festival.


Support for initiatives

The municipality of Wageningen has made 25,000 euros available to support initiatives that are connected to the celebration of this anniversary year. For more information, please phone the project leader Karianne Radstake at (0317) 49 27 61.


Gelderland Remembers

From September 2019 to May 2020, the Netherlands will be commemorating the end of the Second World War 75 years ago. We are celebrating the fact that we have lived in freedom since then and that we are all responsible for passing this freedom on to the next generations. Activities commemorating events from the Second World War will be held throughout Gelderland in a project entitled ‘Gelderland Remembers’. The anniversary activities in Wageningen are part of this programme. If you would like to know more about the anniversary events being organised in Gelderland, go to www.gelderlandremembers.com.