Liberation of Holland

Tulips mark the Liberation of the Netherlands 75 years ago...

Canada and the Netherlands hold a very special relationship since World War II, when more than 7,500 Canadians gave their lives in order to liberate the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.

Canada also provided sanctuary for the Dutch Royal Family when their country was under Nazi occupation. During their time in Canada, Princess Juliana gave birth to her daughter, Princess Margriet in an Ottawa hospital. In gratitude, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada.

For the past 75 years, Holland has continued the tradition of sending thousands of tulip bulbs every year to thank Canada for the many sacrifices that were made by Canadian veterans and their families in liberating the Netherlands.

Tulip bulbs represent more than flowers for the Dutch. They became a symbol of liberation because of what happened during the hunger winter of 1944-45. This was one of the coldest winters in memory for the Netherlands and the occupying Germans banned food shipments. The Dutch were starving, and they resorted to eating tulip bulbs to survive.

This spring, an estimated one million tulips can be seen across Canada to mark the final liberation that took place on May 5, 1945.

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