The Canadian Tulip Festival together with their partners, the National Capital Commission (NCC), the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, are getting ready to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands in the spring of 2020 by introducing the Liberation75 Tulip, a limited-edition bright orange, mid-early blooming tulip with crown-shaped petals.
Order your own Liberation75 Tulips
The goal of the Liberation75 Commemorative Planting Campaign is to plant 1.1 million tulips across Canada to honour the 1.1 million Canadians who served in the Second World War.
This morning, Mayor Watson purchased one of the first bags of 15 Liberation75 tulip bulbs. The City of Ottawa also purchased 300 bulbs – or 75 tulips per bed, which will be planted in front of the Heritage Building at City Hall to mark the 75 years since the liberation. He is challenging all residents and businesses of the Ottawa region to use their lawns and gardens to help us match the NCC’s planting of 100,000 Liberation75 tulips this fall, so we can paint the town orange next spring and offer the warmest welcome to our Dutch friends who will be visiting for the occasion.
When the Netherlands was invaded during the Second World War, Dutch Princess Juliana and her family were forced to flee. The family was given a warm welcome in Ottawa, where they lived throughout the war. In 1943, the bond between Canada and the Netherlands was made even stronger, when the Princess’ third child, Margriet, was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
In the occupied Netherlands, the Dutch people experienced hardship, oppression and starvation. In 1945, their ordeal came to an end as the Allies advanced across the country. Canadians played a significant role in the liberation of the Netherlands, an accomplishment for which the Dutch are still thankful today. After the war, the Dutch people and Royal Family expressed their thanks to Canada by sending 100,000 tulip bulbs. The Gift of Tulips became a yearly tradition. The Dutch Royal Family and the people of the Netherlands still send 20,000 bulbs to Ottawa annually, and this year repeated the original gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs! See this ceremonial gift being delivered from Princess Margriet to Canadian Veteran Don White.
Join us in celebrating and honouring our veterans, and the 75th anniversary of this longstanding friendship.
- In 1940, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and the Dutch Royal Family was evacuated to London, England.
- Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina sent her heir, Crown Princess Juliana, and the Princess’ two daughters to Canada. They spent five years in Ottawa and became a part of the community.
- In 1943, the Crown Princess gave birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
- Immediately following the War, Crown Princess Juliana presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs in gratitude for the hospitality provided by the city. In 1946, she sent an additional 20,000 tulip bulbs as a token of appreciation for Canada’s support and wartime efforts.
- To this day, the Netherlands continues to send a gift of tulips each year to Ottawa as a symbol of international friendship.
- The Canadian Tulip Festival was established in 1953 to celebrate the historic gift of tulips from the Dutch Royal Family. The Festival has commemorated this gift and its history each spring for the last 68 years.
- The Festival, which takes place in May of each year (May 8–18, 2020), commemorates the crucial role that the Canadian Armed Forces played in the Liberation of the Netherlands and Europe, as well as the birth of Princess Margriet in Ottawa—the only royal personage ever born in Canada.
- To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands, the Canadian Tulip Festival – together with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the National Capital Commission – have launched the Liberation75 Tulip Campaign.
- The Campaign will result in the planting of 1.1 million Liberation75 Tulips across Canada in honour of the 1.1 million Canadians who served during the Second World War.
Mayor Watson expressed his wish for the Princess to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. The Mayor also proposed renaming Fairmont Park, which is in proximity to the Ottawa Civic Hospital, after Princess Margriet, to commemorate her history in Ottawa. Later this fall, the park will feature a dedicated Liberation75 tulip garden, where the City will plant 1,945 tulips, marking the year of the Liberation.