The liberation of Western Europe began on June 6th 1944 with Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day, the invasion of Normandy. The liberation of the Netherlands was a complicated operation that lasted from september 1944 till may 1945. Troops of several allied nations took part in this operation. While the south of the Netherlands was already liberated in the autumn of 1944, the north had to wait until april 1945. The west even had to wait until the German surrender on may 5 1945.
On september 9 1944 a reconnessance patrol of the american 113th Cavalry Group Red Horse was the first to cross the Dutch border near Maastricht. The first liberators of the Netherlands, soldiers of the 30 Infantry Division "Old Hickory", entered Southern Limburg on september 12 1944. Next, on september 17 1944, Operation Market Garden started. This was a combined American, British and Polish operation. After Operation Market Garden Operation Pheasant started on friday 20 october 1944. This was the liberation of Middle and Western Brabant. The 1st Canadian Army attacked from Belgium and the 2nd British Army attacked from the east. On monday oktober 23rd the 51st Highland Division advanced in the direction of Schijndel. This attack, part of Operation Pheasant, was known by the name Operation Colin.
Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, Walcheren and Northern and
Southern Beveland were liberated by the Canadians, British and Polish
during the months of september till november. In November and december
North-West Limburg was liberated by the 2nd British Army. The main part
of Southern Netherlands was now free from the German occupation.
In the Netherlands an ackward situation rose when
the German commander general Blaskowitz felt that the surrender was not
valid for the German troops in the west of the Netherlands. He was
summoned by the Canadian lieutenant-general Foulkes and on may 5 in Hotel
"De Wereld" in Wageningen terms of surrender were discussed.
Present was also HRH Prince Bernhard, commander of the Dutch forces. The
next day, sunday may 6 1945, Blaskowitz signed the surrender-agreements of
all German troops in the Netherlands. Two days later, in Berlin on may 8
1945, the total surrender of the Third Reich was signed by the German high
command and the Allied forces.