Apeldoorn, Netherlands About 1,500 Canadian war veterans visited the Dutch royal family's former summer home on Friday for the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate Canada's role in the liberation of the Netherlands 60 years ago.
The plaque, written in French, English and Dutch, recognizes Canada's role in freeing the country from five years of Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
“Today, in particular, we honour the more than 7,000 Canadians who died in the liberation of the Netherlands and the more than 200,000 Dutch who died during the war,” Stéphane Dion, minister responsible for Parks Canada, told the crowd who gathered outside the Palace Het Loo National Museum.
“The gratitude the people of the Netherlands have shown to us Canadians resonates with the deep remembrance of the war and an eternal friendship for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of civilization.”
The event was one of several organized this week by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Dutch government and various community groups to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation.
This week countless Canadian flags line the streets of Apeldoorn, which was liberated on April 17, 1945. Some residents have posted hand-made signs in their window that read: Thank you Canada.
One of the biggest highlights for the veterans will be Sunday's parade through the streets of Apeldoorn before an expected crowd of 300,000 people.
Howard Anderson, who served in Holland with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps and had a front row seat for the plaque unveiling, said he appreciated the gesture.
“It's commemorative, something that's been lacking for a long time for veterans — to have something to recognize them with,” said Anderson, a former Cree chief of the Gordon First Nation just north of Regina.