Two important annual events take place throughout the Netherlands this week, and Wageningen celebrates both of them fully. Koninginnedag is on Saturday 30 April, and Bevrijdingsdag is on Thursday 5 May. Be prepared for your normal routines to be disrupted, and enjoy what’s on offer.
Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation day) is when the Netherlands celebrates the end of the Second World War. The dead are commemorated at 20:00 on 4 May. Everyone stops what they are doing and observes two minutes’ silence. Liberation day begins at midnight with the lighting of the ‘liberation torch’ in the 5 Mei Plein in Wageningen, in front of Hotel de Wereld, where the German recapitulation was signed in 1945. Afterwards you might want to climb the hill to Unitas for a party.
On 5 May in the afternoon (16.00) there’s a procession of war veterans, who will file past Prince Willem Alexander. This is followed by a fly past of old aeroplanes. In addition to the official programme, which receives national TV coverage, Wageningen becomes crowded with thousands of visitors who come for the music festival that’s held throughout the centre of town. From midday to late at night well-known and less well-known bands play everything from blues and salsa to dance, punk and heavy metal.
The park between Heerenstraat and Spijk and the square in front of theatre Junushoff offer theatre and dance. There are also children’s activities in the Emmapark. In town, drinks are sold in plastic beakers with a deposit, which is returned when you hand the beaker in again. Bring your own drinks if you want to save money. You’re also warned not to urinate on the streets [wildplassen], as this activity incurs a fine of 50 euros. And if you still haven’t had enough, you can crash for example at the International Club Association or the pubs in town.
Most shops and offices are closed on both feast days, as is the swimming pool for example. Supermarkets are often open in the morning, but it is best to check the information in their windows. Programme for 4/5 May: www.4en5meiwageningen.nl