Concerns about continuing liberation festivities

Girls with Canadian soldiers in Harderwijk

We are currently in a dark period. Europe has become the epicenter of the coronavirus. It started in China in December 2019 as an epidemic, but the virus has spread worldwide and has now become a pandamia. Europe in particular is currently heavily affected and more than 2500 people are now infected in the Netherlands as well. This week the government has announced drastic measures in an attempt to contain the virus. Among other things by stipulating that events involving more than 100 people are immediately banned. This means that many events will be cancelled at least until 31 March 2020, such as concerts and cultural festivities. But museums are also keeping their doors closed.

However, the coronavirus still seems to spread rapidly and it seems that on 31 March the expansion has certainly not stopped and could take much longer. The government will then have to come up with new stricter measures, such as closing schools. Virologists warn that we are in the same line as Italy. Also in Spain and France the mortality rate is higher than in the Netherlands.

The liberation of Dalen

In the light of the development of this pandamia, it is unfortunately to be expected that little will come of the commemoration of war and liberation this year. ARS Website would participate on 4 April 2020 in a battlefield tour within the framework of the liberation of Ede, organized by the Platform Militaire Historie Ede. However, this will not happen.

On the site of the NOS is to follow a blog about the corona crisis. You could read the following today:

The celebrations of 75 years of liberation are also affected by the coronavirus. The National Committee 4 and 5 May already announced yesterday that all meetings with more than 100 people until 31 March have been cancelled because of the coronavirus. But what will happen after that period is also highly uncertain."

Yesterday we already saw that memorial centre Camp Westerbork moved a commemoration on April 12th to September 13th", says JoŽl Stoppels, who is involved in a large number of liberation events in the East of the Netherlands, on NPO Radio 1. "This is just the beginning, I think. On April 1st Enschede was liberated. If you look chronologically in the timeline of the liberation, then all festivities are planned. On 2 April and 3 April in Overijssel, and then on to Groningen, that was liberated on 16 April. It's become very uncertain."

HIt is also questionable whether the Canadian veterans can come, says Stoppels. "About fifty of them want to come to the Netherlands. That is an enormously vulnerable group. They often arrive on the 25th or 26th of April, and we have to see whether they will be able to travel then. I am very afraid of them. For most veterans this is probably the last time they will be able to attend the commemoration."