The evening of May 5th was spent in Scheveningen, a seaside town in The Netherlands, just north of the capital Den Haag (The Hague). This is an important day for the Dutch people. It marks the surrender of the occupying German army on that day in 1945 towards the end of the Second World War. Nowadays it is a public holiday, Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) following a day of tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for freedom from the Nazis. It was the culmination of a nine month campaign and the liberation of Holland, largely by the first Canadian Army. They had landed with the Allied Forces in Normandy on June 6 and then made their way up along the Channel coast, securing the ports for vital supply/logistics to the Allies as they advanced through Europe towards Berlin.
My return to Scheveningen was more favourable than the last time. It felt more like the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean-like sunshine. No blasting wind and driving rain from the North Sea to contend with as I ran along the beach front. Many were out and about, on foot, on bikes, skateboards… and on Vespas:
The linear route took me from the sand dunes at the east of the town, where Nightingales can be heard singing on quieter nights, along the esplanade as far as the harbour mouth. Its built over a recently installed dyke, a concrete defence to climate change-induced storms that threaten this low-lying land.
On my way back, I stepped into the Kurhaus, a well-known hotel and landmark, to see some excellent photos by Rob Bosboom of a gig played there, almost 50 years ago by The Rolling Stones. The Stones only got part way through their play list on that night, August 8, 1964:
Last gig at The Kurhaus
The Stones played,
A riot broke out.
The police came in,
The Stones fled.
In seven minutes,
It was dead.
The last gig
At The Kurhaus.
© J. Ashley Nixon
As the sun began to set, the freedom of these children, bouncing, care-free on a beach trampoline, was a poignant reminder of what was achieved in this place by the Canadians and other Allies in 1945.
Tomas the tram was ready and waiting to take me back to Den Haag.
Thanks for coming to take a look.