You know what, Netherlands? Canada isn’t sorry for this one.
Seventy years ago today, Canadian troops liberated the Dutch city of Groningen. After nine months of intense fighting, the city was one of the last bastions of Nazi control over the country; and 7,600 Canadians would die by the time Hitler’s forces were completely driven out.
It’s certainly nice to know then, all these years later, that the Netherlands hasn’t forgotten our sacrifice.
The city held a procession and re-enactments to mark the anniversary of the liberation this weekend, but one supermarket came up with its own little tribute:
Groningen student Joost van Sloten, who took the photo, told the Huffington Post that the supermarket is located on the same road the Canadians took the liberate the city in 1945. But our bond with the Netherlands goes much, much deeper than one little city.
After the country fell to the Nazis in 1940, the royal family fled to Ottawa, where they gave birth to Princess Margriet Francisca. In order to ensure the baby would be born 100 per cent Dutch, the Canadian government temporarily declared the maternity ward in Ottawa civic hospital to be international territory. That way, the newborn would derive her citizenship solely from her mother.
Those actions forged a bond between our two countries that still holds strong today. Here’s Princess Margriet 62 years later, unveiling a plaque in Ottawa:
And here are Canadian veterans getting a heroes welcome in Apeldoorn, 1985:
It just goes to show that even in history’s darkest moments, Canadians always find a way to come out looking great.