On 15th April, 78 years ago, Canadian troops liberated Leeuwarden and large parts of Friesland in the Netherlands. To commemorate this historical event, the LRE Foundation will launch a new long-distance walking route in Friesland on the same day this year. This route will be part of the Canadian Liberation Route, an important addition to the Liberation Route Europe hiking trail network that follows the Canadian advance to liberate the country in 1944-45.
A ceremony will be held in Leeuwarden to commemorate the liberation of the province and officially launch the new route. Nathalie Kramers, Deputy Mayor of Leeuwarden, Avine Fokkens, member of the Friesland Provincial Executive, Matthieu Borsboom, vfunds Chairman and Ed Kronenburg, Chairman of the LRE Foundation Supervisory Board, will speak during the ceremony, emphasizing the significance of commemorating and celebrating our freedom. Moreover, A delegation from the Royal Canadian Dragoons, which played an important role in the liberation, will be present to witness the unveiling of Leeuwarden’s ‘Vector of Memory’, one of the Liberation Route Europe memorials designed by the American architect Daniel Libeskind which are scattered throughout the province to mark the most relevant events on the ‘Canadian Trail’.
The installation of the ‘Vector of Memory’ in Leeuwarden was made possible by vfonds and other organizations such as the Gemeente Leeuwarden, Stichting FB Oranjewoud, Stichting Friesland 1940-1945, and the Province of Friesland. The vector was adopted by the Public Primary School IKC Aventurijn’s pupils as part of the national project “Adopt a Monument’” that brings local history to life for children.
“The 250-kilometre walking route in Friesland is an important addition to the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails network, stretching from De Blesse in the south to Lauwersmeer in the north of the province.“, says Gert-Jan Jacobs, LREF Press and Communications Advisor “It includes more than 60 stories linked to more than 90 locations, showcasing not only the military story from various perspectives, but also the involvement of the resistance in the liberation, collaboration, hiding, sheltering evacuees, deployment of secret agents, and the experiences of ordinary citizens. Together, these stories tell the history of the liberation of Friesland, making it accessible to both young and old audiences.“
The Canadian Liberation Route does not end with Friesland: the province of Groningen will be soon part of the Canadian Trails in the Netherlands as well. Eighty stories from this province have already been added to the Liberation Route Europe website, and eight audio stories will be included soon. Furthermore, another Vector of Memory will be unveiled in Groningen at the end of 2023.