50th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Dutch-Canadians in Vancouver, British Columbia

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In May 1995, to commemorate the 50th Anniversary, William Zylmans, Hans Steen, Gerry Bouwman, and Hank van Ness were the directors of the Holland Revisited Society 1945 -1995.  They coordinated and sponsored the sending of 35 Canadian veterans to return to the Netherlands to witness the expression of thank you by the Dutch people to Canada and its Canadian veterans.  The Canadian veterans participated in the Liberation parade in Apeldoorn and several other commemorative events and visited their fallen comrades buried at war cemeteries in Bergen op Zoom and in Arnhem.  The soldiers while in Holland were provided with accommodation and transportation by the VanderValk family operators of the VanderValk Hotel chain in Holland.  The KLM sponsored the travel costs for the war veterans to fly to the Netherlands.  The Canadian soldiers were overwhelmed with the expression of warmth, kindness and gratitude expressed by the Dutch people, upon their return to the Netherlands.  As Yetty Foulds stated, a Dutch War Bride who joined her husband Elsley a Canadian veteran “the veterans parade in Apeldoorn created moments of overwhelming tears for my husband, for he felt in his heart, how the people expressed such appreciation and thankfulness for their freedom; he realized the fight for freedom had really been worth the price.  

Tile 50 Years  Liberation

On April 24, 1995, Klaas Elgersma, President, Dutch Canadians Remember 1945 Society, presented to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation the offer of a monument as a token of appreciation to the people of Canada for participation in the 1945 Liberation of the Netherlands.  By April 4, 1996 the monument “Joy of Freedom” was permanently installed on Robson Square in downtown Vancouver.  Information report dated April 4, 1996 presented to the Recreation Division, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.  The monument is located on the eastern side of the Vancouver court house complex that was created by Geert Maas to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian soldiers.

50 Years Liberation. The Canadian and Dutch flag