Liberation Day in Denmark

Liberation Day is a holiday observed every May 5th in Denmark. It commemorates the end of the Nazi occupation of the country in 1945. On that day, people flooded the streets, waving the Danish flag. This holiday has been commemorated for the past seven-plus decades by people lighting candles and placing them in their windows on this day.

This day is often observed with military bands and parades, a celebration of members of the Danish resistance, and church services. Large crowds usually gather in cities across Denmark, such as Odense. It’s a day for celebration and for Danes to express a bit of national pride.

The History of Liberation Day in Denmark

During WWII, Nazi Germany occupied Denmark beginning on April 9, 1940. Denmark was originally able to keep its monarchy and government in place using a mix of totalitarian and democratic mechanisms, but that ended in 1943 due to upheaval and general strikes. Thousands of Danes joined the Danish resistance movement and worked actively to undermine the Nazi occupation.

On May 4th, 1945, the BBC broadcast to Denmark announcing that German troops in the Netherlands, northwest Germany, and Denmark had surrendered. Full liberation wouldn’t officially take place until May 5th, 1945, but that didn’t stop thousands of Danes from filling the streets and burning the blackout curtains they had used during bombing raids. This day has been celebrated as a holiday ever since.

Facts About Denmark

Let’s take a look at some facts about Denmark that we think everyone can appreciate.

  • Study after study has shown that Denmark is a country with one of the happiest populations in the world.
  • The tallest mountain in Denmark is approximately 170 meters above sea level.
  • Denmark’s flag—the Dannebrog—is the oldest state flag still in use by an independent nation.
  • The Dannebrog dates back to 1219.

Observing Liberation Day in Denmark

Nowadays, this holiday is observed throughout Denmark with parades, bands, and large gatherings of people. On this day, members of the Danish Resistance are honored, as well as everyone who lost their lives during the Nazi occupation of the country.

Where is it celebrated?
Denmark (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 5 Sunday
Next year (2025)
May 5 Monday
Last year (2023)
May 5 Friday