Liberation day ‘Bevrijdingsdag’ will be next week on the fifth of May and it marks the liberation of the Netherlands from the Nazis. For the Dutch folk, the fifth of May is a national holiday and it is celebrated all over the country with festivals and other events. Is it the same in other countries? Five international students recount when and how they celebrate in their home countries

Alexandros Achilleos (22) student of IBEB and Philosophy, born in Greece raised in Cyprus.

“I must say we have a lot of celebrations in Greece and Cyprus. I think the one that reminds me of the Dutch Bevrijdingsdag the most is the Ohi Day that is the “No Day”. It is celebrated the 28th of October and it marks the day Greece refused to surrender to the Italian army as they declared to invade the country  just before World War II. Ohi Day is celebrated both in Greece and Cyprus with a parade on the actual day. We also have big celebrations in schools and working places the days before the festivity. It is of course a public holiday and everything is closed.”


Daphne Auclair (20) exchange student Erasmus School of Law, Canadian

“In Canada we celebrate Canada Day. It is on the first of July and it celebrates Canada’s independence from Britain in 1867 with the North American Act, or something similar to that. I must admit my history skills are a bit rough at the moment. I guess you could compare our celebration to the American 4th of July, but we aren’t nearly as patriotic as the Americans. Though, we do celebrate with fireworks, parades and everybody wears white and red! Of course, it is a national holiday!”

Nora Fiskaa Liøstad (24) Master student in Arts, Culture and Society, Norwegian

“The big freedom day for us is the 17th of May. The date marks the day Norway signed its own constitution and was granted with more independence from Sweden and Denmark. It is a massive festivity that is celebrated all over the country. There are a lot of parades involving children. In Olso, for instance, the children march to the Royal Palace and greet the royal family. There is also a lot of partying going on, especially for high school students who are graduating. Though it is mainly a day for children, it is like a king’s day for kids.”

Charlotte Collard (23) Pre-master student in Media, Culture and Society , Belgian

“In Belgium we celebrate our Bevrijdingsdag the 8th of May. It is a national holiday and of course everybody is off of work. It is a lot about honoring and remembering the fallen during World War II. Usually, the prime minister gives a speech to the nation. Honestly, it is really sad, because often times nobody remembers and because it is so sad and boring young people know even less about it. I wish it would be a bit more like in the Netherlands with more cheerful celebrations. “

Kenzy El Kalamawy (20) student at Erasmus University College, Egyptian

“In my country of origin Egypt we have our own liberation day. This falls on the 25th of April and marks the day when Israel finally withdrew from the Sinai. That happened in 1982. Israel had been occupying that territory for fifteen years. The name of the festivity is in fact Sinai Liberation Day. It is a national holiday and people pour into the streets with flags and celebrate. My family and I usually go out for dinner or we have some friends over. This year there were also water and air shows that were organized by the army.”