This post was contributed by Marieke van den Oever.
May 5th marks the anniversary of the Dutch liberation from the Nazi Germans in the Second World War. Today we celebrate our freedom for the 75th time. However, this year is holds a new meaning. It’s ironic, how exactly on the day of 75 years of freedom in the Netherlands, our “freedom” has been contained. This year we would celebrate it big, bigger than ever. But in reality, this year we will celebrate freedom by giving it up. It’s painful to say. Especially for me, someone who worships freedom more than any other value in life. And yet, maybe this is the best possible way to celebrate freedom, in some weird sense.
Because right now, we are feeling the importance of freedom stronger as ever. Most people in the Netherlands – and many other countries – have never felt what it’s like to not have the privilege to go wherever you want to go, or to be whoever you want to be. We have never truly felt those limitations; we have been celebrating freedom our whole lives, thus never really celebrating it.
And at the same time, once again we are reminded of the freedom that we do have. Unlike many other countries, we are allowed to leave the house, to go to stores or meet up with friends. Maybe in your country the measures are heavier, or COVID-19 is really testing your limits of staying positive. But if you can read this online article, I am already assured that you too have freedom to celebrate. Because unlike many other citizens around the world, we are safe. We can afford to stay home for a long period of time. We have the freedom of LIFE.
But in reality, this year we will celebrate freedom by giving it up.
Liberation Day has never hit me so hard. It has become not only a symbol for the freedom our country gained after years of war and dictatorship. It has also become a symbol for the value of freedom today; the need for it, and the strong acknowledgement of the freedom we do have.
Vier de vrijheid. Celebrate freedom.
Meet Marieke: a Dutch 20 year old who studies travel (a.k.a. Bachelor International Development) and spends her free time dancing to the Vengaboys, complimenting strangers in bars and sending her friends Snapchats only she thinks are funny. Keep up with her on IG.