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The people of the Netherlands, together with Canadian veterans and dignitaries, are marking the 65th anniversary of the country's release from Nazi occupation.

May 5 is celebrated as Liberation Day in the Netherlands.

In the city of Wageningen, where Canadian forces accepted the surrender of the Germans in 1945, about 500 veterans marched through the streets or rode in the backs of restored World War II trucks to the applause of spectators.


Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, left, and Second World War veteran Harry Watts, 86, from Kitchener, Ont., at a memorial ceremony Monday at the Canadian War Cemetery in the Dutch town of Groesbeek marking the 1945 liberation of the Netherlands. ((Vincent Jannink/Associated Press))

David Common of CBC News said thousands of people lined the city's cobblestone streets waving Canadian flags.

"The Canadians are once again being honoured as the liberators that they were for this country, and certainly for this village," he said.

About 2,500 Canadian students are in the country for the ceremonies, meeting with veterans and touring cemeteries and former battlefields.

Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn was in attendance and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was to fly to the Netherlands later Wednesday to attend memorial ceremonies. Harper was flying in from Brussels, where he had been meeting with the president of the European Union Commission.

Almost 8,000 Canadian soldiers died fighting in the Netherlands.

On Tuesday, the Canadians participated in a memorial ceremony at Holten Canadian War Cemetery, the resting place of 1,355 Canadians who died in the latter phases of the war in Europe.