Lieutenant-Colonel G.W. Ball of Edmonton Takes Custody of Former Reich Kommisar to the Netherlands, Seyss Inquart, Hengelo, Netherlands, 8 May 1945.
National Archives of Canada (PA-176570, photo by C. E. Nye).

Lieutenant-Colonel G.W. Ball of Edmonton Takes Custody of Former Reich Kommisar to the Netherlands, Seyss Inquart, Hengelo, Netherlands, 8 May 1945.

Canadian forces fought hard to free the Netherlands, suffering thousands of casualties in the liberation battles. The Dutch have never forgotten Canadian efforts to rid their land of Nazi oppressors such as Inquart.
Rooftop View of a Canal and Road Used by Army Vehicles, 21 April 1945.
National Archives of Canada (PA-133233, photo by Donald I. Grant).

Rooftop View of a Canal and Road Used by Army Vehicles, 21 April 1945.

 

Although the tide of the war had turned in the favour of the Allies, they still faced hard fighting if they were to push the Germans out of the occupied countries. In 1944, the Allied command gave the Canadians the task of recapturing the Netherlands. The Canadians conducted several impressive advances, but the German army that defended the Netherlands was still a very efficient fighting force. Scores of Canadian soldiers died in the face of determined German opposition. Only towards the end of April 1945 did the intensity of the fighting subside. By that time, the Canadians had liberated thousands of square kilometres of Dutch territory. Their successes built an intimate bond between the soldiers and the Dutch citizens. Pilots read signs painted on rooftops that said "thank you Canadians." Soldiers witnessed first-hand the gratitude of the Dutch as the liberated citizens cheered Canadian troops advancing through the towns and villages. The Canadians seemed to be feted as heroes everywhere they went. Indeed, the link between Canada and the Dutch people that was forged during the liberation of the Netherlands endures to this day.

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