This 2020 $20 fine silver coin pays tribute to the Canadian forces who helped liberate the people of the Netherlands from German occupation 75 years ago during one of the final initiatives of the Second World War. The art for this coin steps away from the battle to show a child’s eye view of the Liberation of the Netherlands in the spring of 1945. Canadian troops are seen receiving a hero’s welcome, solidifying a lasting bond between the two nations. As with other coins in the 2020 V-E Day collection, the obverse includes a special Victory privy mark. Mintage is limited to 7,500 pieces. GST/HST exempt.
Artist Pandora Young has chosen a powerful perspective for this coin. Standing in a crowd of cheering Dutch civilians, a young girl offers a tulip to the Canadian infantryman seated on the carrier, while others have climbed onboard to celebrate freedom.
About the Liberation of the Netherlands
The surrender on May 5 did not put an immediate end to the violence. Newspaper reports on May 6 announced the Canadians would arrive in Amsterdam the next day but a reconnaissance unit felt the situation was too tense. On May 7, enemy troops fired on the crowd that had gathered in Dam Square to celebrate the Liberation, resulting in the deaths of more than 30 people.
It’s been called the last battlefield in Europe: the Dutch island of Texel was the site of an uprising that continued after the war ended. On April 6, hundreds of Georgians stationed on the island turned on their German officers and seized military installations. The fighting continued well past V-E Day and only ceased when Canadian troops arrived on the island on May 20, 1945.
More than 7,600 Canadians died fighting in the nine-month campaign to liberate the Netherlands.
Solemn commemorative ceremonies are held annually on May 4, which is Remembrance Day (Dodenherdenking) in the Netherlands. May 5 is Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag), a day for celebrating freedom, and it is a national holiday once every five years (including 2020).
Still today, local schoolchildren are continuing the tradition of tending to the graves of fallen Canadian soldiers, including the more than 2,300 who are buried in Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, near Nijmegen. In the war cemetery at Holton, schoolchildren from Deventer place a candle on all 1,394 Canadian graves on Christmas Eve.