THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel will deliver a key speech in May to mark the 75th anniversary of the Netherlands' liberation from World War II Nazi occupation.
The Dutch government on Thursday announced Merkel's participation in the May 5 liberation event in The Hague.
The committee that organizes the Dutch event said it and Prime Minister Mark Rutte asked Merkel because she, “steeped in history, has worked for years for peace, freedom and stability in Europe.”
While many Dutch people who survived the brutal occupation that saw tens of thousands of Dutch Jews deported to concentration camps long harbored resentment toward Germany, the neighboring nations have for years enjoyed close social and economic ties.
Merkel, who has ruled Germany since 2005, gave up the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union in late 2018 and said that she won’t seek a fifth term as chancellor. But she said she was prepared to run Germany’s government until its term ends in the fall of 2021.
Merkel is not the first German to speak at Dutch celebrations marking the May 5, 1945, surrender by German forces in the Netherlands at the end of World War II. In 2012, then-German President Joachim Gauck delivered the speech.
May 5 liberation celebrations across the Netherlands come a day after the country's annual solemn commemoration of war dead.