Public holidays in the Netherlands
On May 4, 1945, General Admiral Hans-Georg von Friedeburg signed the partial capitulation of the Wehrmacht in northwestern Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands on behalf of the last Reich President Karl Dönitz. Colonel-General Johannes Blaskowitz signed the corresponding regulations for the German troops in the Netherlands, in Wageningen the next day. The 4th and 5th of May are therefore special days for the Netherlands.
On May 4 at 8 pm, two minutes of silence is held nationally. In addition to the national commemoration of the National Monument at the Dam in Amsterdam - organized by the National Committee for 4 and 5 May - memorial service is also organized by local committees.
The first commemoration was held on May 9, 1945, at the end of World War II. Until 1961, the commemoration was only related to the Dutch victims of World War II. Since then, all citizens and soldiers of the kingdom who have died in military conflicts are honored.
Tijdens de Nationale Herdenking herdenken wij allen – burgers en militairen – die in het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden of waar ook ter wereld zijn omgekomen of vermoord sinds het uitbreken van de Tweede Wereldoorlog, in oorlogssituaties en bij vredesoperaties.
During the national commemoration we commemorate all Dutch war victims. All - citizens and soldiers - who have died or have been killed in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or elsewhere in the world since the outbreak of World War II in war and peacekeeping missions.
On May 4, the Dutch flag is flown at half-mast from 6:00 pm until sunset in Amsterdam. If a flag stands at half-mast during the national commemoration, the flag is raised to the top after the singing of the national anthem; but she can also stay at half-mast.
Not an official holiday
Though not recognized as an official holiday, Dodenherdenking holds significant importance for both the Dutch government and its citizens in the Netherlands.
Retail stores are permitted to operate until 7 pm, and municipalities may grant exceptions for extended hours.
Restaurants, cafes, and pubs are open, with a 2-minute moment of silence observed at 8 p.m.
Public institutions, educational facilities, and schools are open during the day, except when holidays are in effect.