The Liberation of the Netherlands

Snapshots of Canada’s Past: History is more than just words on a screen or from a textbook; this series is a thematic look back at Canadian history through visual imagery.

“Left of the Line” Advance, from Canadian Army Newsreel 69, (April 1945).

May 5, 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands from Germany during World War II. The actual liberation began back in September 1944 when Allied forces first tried to break into the German-occupied Netherlands from the south. This attempt was unsuccessful, so the Canadians were brought in.

From September 1944 to April 1945, the 1st Canadian Army fought German forces on the Scheldt estuary. During October and November the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions fought along the south and north banks, respectively. They were successful, which enabled both food and medical relief to reach millions of desperate civilians—the Dutch population had been in the midst of a starvation. 7600 Canadians died fighting in the Netherlands, but they got the job done. After waiting out the winter, Canadian reinforcements arrived in the spring following their Sicilian and Italian Campaigns, and the German resistance collapsed.

The liberation forged a longstanding friendship between the two countries. Each year the Dutch government sends thousands of tulips to Ottawa as an ongoing thank you for the liberation and for providing safe harbour to the Dutch royal family who lived here in exile during WW2. Furthermore, Canadian-Dutch bond is also celebrated every summer during the Nijmegen Marches, which commemorates the liberation.

Please click on the pictures below to learn more about the Liberation of the Netherlands.

Sources
“Liberation of the Netherlands,” Canada at War. Accessed from: http://www.canadaatwar.ca/page52.html

“Liberation of the Netherlands,” Canadian Encyclopedia. Accessed from: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/liberation-of-holland/

“The Liberation of the Netherlands, 1944-1945” Canadian War Museum. Accessed from http://www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/newspapers/operations/netherlands_e.shtml

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