Rotterdam to celebrate freedom and peace this May

News

Several events of great historical significance will be commemorated in the Dutch city of Rotterdam this May, it was announced on the city’s official webpage.

Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb stated: ‘’’Freedom seems so natural, just like the water from the tap and the air you breathe, but it is not.’’

The Dutch honour civilians and soldiers who have died in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or elsewhere around the globe since the outbreak of WWII, both in war situations and in peacekeeping missions, every year at 8 p.m. on May 4th.

On 14 May every year, another large commemoration event is held in Rotterdam. On this day in 1940, the Nazi bombardment devastated practically the entire city centre, forcing the Netherlands to capitulate. 

The city only began to be rebuilt after 1945. However, it was determined that rather than reconstructing the old buildings, the city would be given a completely new image. Nowadays, Rotterdam is a city that that plays a pivotal role in the sustainability transition, known for its innovative and modern design.

This year’s commemorations will also reflect on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and highlight the importance of freedom and peace amid what has grown to be the bloodiest war on European soil in decades. According to UNHCR, over 12.7 million people have been displaced by the war in the last two months, with over 5 million fleeing as refugees across borders and 7.7 million internally displaced.

Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb also stressed the importance of learning history for younger generations in particular, which according to him remains essential in order to secure the future of freedom of peace.

‘’Deepen your understanding of history. Deepen your understanding of your fellow man. That’s how understanding arises. Understanding leads to friendship. And friendship leads to peace,’’ he stated. (photo credit: pikisuperstar/Freepik)