Tulips to Commemorate Netherlands’ Liberation

Tulips to Commemorate Canadian Soldiers and Netherlands’ Liberation
Posted on 05/05/2020
As the weather continues to warm and signs of Spring start to pop up across the Island, the public may soon notice orange tulips in flower beds around City Hall in Charlottetown.

The Capital City has joined municipalities across the country in planting “Liberation 75” tulips to commemorate the role Canada played in the Second World War, and, specifically, in the liberation of the Netherlands. Today (May 5) is Liberation Day in the Netherlands, and this year marks the 75th anniversary.

“The tulip has been a symbol of friendship between Canada and the Netherlands since the end of World War II,” said Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown. “Our participation in the Liberation 75 initiative provides an opportunity to honour the brave souls who served during the Second World War. It’s been 75 years, but we must ensure we never forget the sacrifices that were made, and the lives that were lost.”

In the final months of the Second World War, Canadian forces were given the important and deadly task of liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation. Canadian soldiers bravely battled in Europe, leading the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. At the time, Dutch Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada to express her nation’s gratitude.

The Netherlands have presented Canada with 20,000 tulip bulbs every year since then, inspiring the very first Canadian Tulip Festival in 1953.

This year, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands continued the tradition and presented a gift of tulip bulbs to Canada. To commemorate and celebrate the 75th anniversary, the Canadian Tulip Festival, in consultation with the National Capital Commission and Dutch Embassy, created the Liberation 75 campaign with the goal of seeing 1.1 million tulips planted across the country to honour the 1.1 million Canadians who served during the Second World War. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands purchased 100,000 Liberation 75 tulip bulbs and distributed them to 1,100 schools in Canada. Bulbs were also provided to the Lieutenant Governors in each province and territory. The Canadian Capital Cities Organization partnered with the Canadian Tulip Festival to gift 1,500 tulip bulbs to each capital city.

“These tulips hold a lot of weight in their symbolism in the sense that they honour our Canadian soldiers and mark a significant time in our history,” said Councillor Kevin Ramsay, Chair of the City’s Economic Development, Tourism and Events Management committee. “The number of partnerships involved in making this happen further demonstrates the positive relationships that continue between our countries. Another really nice thing about this project is that tulips are a bright, colourful flower that signal Spring has come and better days are ahead. I think that’s also an important message for all of us to remember at this time.”

Money raised from the Liberation 75 tulip project is being donated to the Royal Canadian Legion. To learn more about the Liberation 75 tulip project, visit: https://liberation75.ca/