Thousands upon thousands of tulips bloom in Ottawa every May marking Canada’s liberation of the Netherlands in World War II. (iStock)

Tulip events to mark 75th anniversary of Canada’s liberation of Holland

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Every year the Netherlands sends thousands of tulips to Canada in appreciation of Canada’s liberation of the country in World War II and for providing a safe haven for the Dutch royal family which lived in Canada during the war. There is an annual tulip festival in the nation’s capital Ottawa when the flowers bloom in the month of May.

This year the festival kicks off on Friday, May 10th and that will herald a special planting campaign which will be part of celebrations in 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation.

The Dutch cheered Canadian troops as liberators and saviours. (CBC archives)

The Dutch were sick and starving

More than 7,600 Canadian soldiers, airmen and sailors died chasing the Nazis out of Holland from September 1944 to April 1945. The gratitude was immeasurable among the Dutch who were sick and starving.

The First Canadian Army played a major role in the liberation of the Dutch and also in opening Belgium and the Netherlands’ Scheldt estuary which was a gateway to the port of Antwerp. Access to the port opened supply lines which were crucial to the Allied armies as they pushed on toward Germany and the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s army.

The Dutch saw Canadian forces as their liberators and saviours and have been eternally grateful.

While the Dutch royal family lived in exile in Canada during the war, baby Magriet was born in an Ottawa hospital. The room was declared extraterritorial so the baby would not have Canadian citizenship but inherit her parent’s Dutch citizenship. (CBC archives)

Newsreel from CBC archives depicts the liberation of Holland.

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