German President Joachim Gauck has delivered the annual Liberation Day speech during a closed-door meeting in Breda’s main church.
President Gauck is the first German to make the speech. He was invited by the Organising Committee of Remembrance and Liberation Days, held on 4 and 5 May respectively. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Crown Willem-Alexander were in attendance.
Close to midnight on Friday, the traditional Liberation Day fire was lit near hotel De Wereld (The World) in the eastern town of Wageningen, where surrender talks with the German army took place on 5 May 1945. Over 2,000 runners then carried torches across the country to light other Liberation Day fires.
Prime Minister Rutte lit a fire in Breda on Saturday afternoon to mark the official beginning of the festivities. This year’s theme is “Freedom passed on.”
Concerts celebrating Liberation Day are being held across the country. Queen Beatrix will attend this evening's open-air concert on Amsterdam’s Amstel river. German President Gauck will attend the event as the Queen’s guest.
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