5 March 2020 – Ottawa, ON – Veterans Affairs Canada
Liberating the Netherlands was Canada’s last major push towards the Allied victory in Europe during the Second World War. As many as 175,000 Canadians took part in the campaign and more than 7,600 of them lost their lives.
Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence unveiled the official poster to mark Canada’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and the Allied victory in Europe – also known as VE-Day.
The poster features Second World War Veteran Sergeant (Ret’d) Norman Kirby who took part in the public unveiling in Vancouver alongside Minister MacAulay and Henk Snoeken, Consul General for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Sergeant (Ret’d) Norman Kirby, a Veteran of the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment, and his platoon helped liberate many Dutch towns in the final weeks of fighting before V‑E Day was declared on 8 May 1945. The poster’s background features Canadian soldiers being warmly welcomed by liberated Dutch citizens in the town of Zwolle in April 1945.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Darrell Samson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, unveiled the poster to Veterans at Camp Hill Veteran Memorial Building.
The unveilings today are the first in a series of in‑Canada and overseas events taking place over the coming months to highlight the stories of the brave Canadians who contributed, at home and overseas, to the Liberation of the Netherlands and the end of the Second World War in Europe.
“Liberating the Netherlands 75 years ago created a special bond between Canada and the Dutch people – a friendship that endures to today. As we unveil this poster featuring Sergeant (Ret’d) Norman Kirby, we remember him, and all the Canadians, who fought on land, on the seas and in the skies for peace and freedom 75 years ago, for the Dutch and the world.”
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
“I am extremely honoured to be on the poster commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands and the end of the Second World War in Europe. It’s a privilege to be in this position, and nice to know that a younger generation of Canadians will continue to remember.”
Sergeant (Ret’d) Norman Kirby
The Canadians who fought in the campaign to liberate the Netherlands were among the more than 1,000,000 Canadians who served during the Second World War. More than 45,000 gave their lives in all campaigns. More than 7,600 Canadians died in the nine‑month campaign to liberate the Netherlands.
Following the Second World War, the Dutch royal family gifted tulips to Canada as a symbol of gratitude and international friendship.