May 4th is remembrance day in the Netherlands, May 5th Liberation Day.
At 20:00 the whole country will fall silent for two minutes remembring the atrocities of World War II, and all victims of armed conflicts since then. In a range of border towns with representatives of villages of the WWII enemy present, which is good.
On Saturday 10 new countries joined the EU.
Maciej Ceglowski yesterday worded the entry of Poland into the EU like this:
I passed two men walking out of a restaurant, one looked at his watch and said to his friend “well, sir, as of five minutes ago we are Europeans”.
It was a fantastic feeling. Not only did I now have both an American and a European passport, meaning I could have any Russian bride in the catalog, but it also meant that this silly but deeply beloved country was here for good, was here to stay. It would be come a normal, second-tier European nation, besieged by annoying backpackers and completely unremarkable. That may not sound like much of a national dream, but for Poland it is the culmination of two hundred years’ bitter struggle. My own grandfather is older than modern Poland; being in Europe means we can now take the independence and continued existence of this country for granted, a remarkable luxury.

Tonight I pay tribute to those who gave us that luxurious liberty, tomorrow I celebrate it.

P2920255Flags at half mast, photo by Franklin Heijnen, license CC BY SA