During the National Commemoration on May 4, the victims of the Second World War and of war situations and peace missions are commemorated in the Netherlands. In virtually every municipality there is a commemoration of the dead. The National Commemoration takes place on Dam Square in Amsterdam. The commemorations are filled in differently everywhere, but often consist of a combination of the following elements/rituals: hoisting the Dutch flag (half mast), (a) lecture(s), naming victims, blowing the tattoo, observing two minutes of silence and laying (a) wreath(s). After the Commemoration of the Dead, various theatre performances take place throughout the country under the denominator ‘Theatre after the Dam’.
On May 5 the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945 is celebrated and the fact that the Dutch have lived in freedom ever since. On Liberation Day a wide range of activities take place and since 2010 it has been an official holiday. On May 4 at midnight the liberation fire is lit at Hotel De Wereld in Wageningen, the place where the 'Orders on the Surrender' were signed on May 5 in 1945. Various groups spread the fire throughout the country during the National Liberation Fire Relay. In many villages and cities events are organised, such as festivals and parades. In recent years these events have taken place: Freedom Meals (where people eat together and discuss issues such as freedom, lack of freedom, human rights and responsibilities) and Freedom Colleges (where speakers share their views on freedom and lack of freedom).
At 5 to 5 p.m., all 14 National Liberation Festivals will spend five minutes on freedom and lack of freedom.