We will commemorate the victims of World War II.
At the Commemoration on Plein ’40-’45, we will begin with an introduction. The ‘Last Post’ will be played, the Carillon will sound, there will be two minutes of silence and we will sing the Dutch National Anthem together. In short: a wonderful programme to commemorate together the victims of the First & Second World Wars, and all wars thereafter.
Everyone is welcome to join us from 19.40 until 20.35 for the commemoration at Plein ’40-’45
In May 1961, a newsreel brought attention to the new Plein 1940-1945: “In one of the spaciously laid-out green urban areas in Amsterdam’s Nieuwe West, a large square recalls the years 40-45. On this square in the country’s capital, a set of bells has been erected that aims to symbolise the gratitude of the Dutch people for the freedom that they have regained. The three largest bells bear the names of Princess Wilhelmina, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard. On the evening of Liberation Day, these freedom bells were presented to the capital by the National Remembrance Committee and dedicated by the queen in the presence of the prince. (…) In the future, the freedom bells will often ring out their sounds over this symbolic square, keeping alive the memory of the joy of our regained freedom.” The carillon was created in 1952 by architect and artist Dick Slebos in collaboration with bell foundry Van Bergen of Heiligerlee. The funds were raised by small and large donations. The then PTT cooperated by placing donation boxes in the post offices. The large bells bear the names Queen Wilhelmina, (then) Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard. During their years in exile in London and Canada, they are symbols of resistance. The small bells are named after a province. The Freedom Carillon subsequently hangs in several places, including Dam Square. In 1954, it was decided that it would have a permanent place in the capital. The National Remembrance Committee initially had Bos en Lommerplein in mind as the most ideal location, but that same year it was decided that a square in Amsterdam-West would be chosen. It is only at the end of May 1960 that the municipality finally decides to place the carillon at Plein 40-45 in the new neighbourhood of Tuindorp Slotermeer. The Vrijheidscarillon will be inaugurated on 4 May 1961. Fifty years later, it officially receives the status of municipal monument.
Amsterdam chose Plein ’40 -’45 because the square is located in the ‘Resistance Heroes’ neighbourhood’. In this neighbourhood, 42 streets are named after resistance fighters from the years of German occupation. In 2016, there is a growing realisation that in the memory of the war, the important role of women has been unfairly underemphasised. It was decided to name six bridges in the district after women involved in the resistance movement. Imane Valk, the youngest member of the 4 and 5 May Committee Slotermeer, commented: ‘Every morning I cycle past this to school and then I realise what special heroes these are. (…) I think it is important to think about this because these are people who look out for each other, help each other and take risks for others without expecting anything in return’. In 2020, the streets and bridges in the Resistance Neighbourhood will feature 48 panels with texts about the named resistance person and a portrait photo.
Over the years, more and more people with a migrant background have come to live in Slotermeer. The neighbourhood has a strong multicultural character. The commemoration of the dead takes place annually on 4 May at 8 pm. In 2019, a decision was made to restore Plein 40-45 as Amsterdam’s second commemorative square after Dam Square. The Liberation Festival on the square is the finale of Maydan Festival, four days dedicated to connecting and getting to know each other’s history, traditions and rituals.