Liberation Music - songs after five years of occupation

May 3rd - November 28th, 2007

Emotional release
Sixty-eight years after WWII the Dutch Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam) revives the music of the liberation in its exposition Liberation Music – Songs after five years of occupation. After five years of occupation, there was a huge emotional release in May 1945. The news about the liberation was broadcast on the radio on the 4th of May.

Enormous enthusiasm and lots of music
The population greeted the allied troops with enormous enthusiasm and with lots of music. Every possible effort was made to celebrate: radios reappeared, hidden flags were hung out, and the streets were coloured with the national colours red-white-blue and orange. In addition to spontaneous dancing and music, there were also many organised liberation parties.

The exhibition shows sheet music from the private collection of Hugo Keesing, audio fragments, beautiful photos and stories about the impact of liberation music in those special days.

Germans banned music
The Germans occupying authorities banned a lot of music during the war. People were not allowed to play English music in any form whatsoever. After the liberation, many English songs such as Happy days are here again, Don't fence me in and Long way to Tipparary became very popular.

Swinging music represented freedom
This swinging music from the liberators´ countries represented renewal and freedom. Soon there were also many Dutch liberation songs around. They spoke of the hope that the country would recover very quickly and that the good times would be coming soon. There were patriotic songs and songs about the Canadian liberators.

The songs were played on the radio and performed live at the numerous parties. Because of a lack of vinyl it was impossible to press records, but the sheet music sold very well. It allowed people to play the songs at home on piano or guitar. It was some time before it was possible to make recordings of some of the liberation songs.