Dutch ‘Freedom Fire’ unites people locally and internationally


The first ‘Freedom Fire’ originated in 1948 

In 1948 the Liberation Fire was brought by Montgomery in Portsmouth to the D-day beach in Normandy. Then taken to Wageningen by Nijmegen athletes. From 1967 The Wagenings athletic club Pallas ‘67 brought the Fire to Wageningen from Nijmegen, through the area where the most heavy battles were fought for the liberation. This relay became a tradition and continued until 2011, which was the year that the Fire finally had a fixed place: the National Freedom Monument. (see the first photo above) 

Since 2016 the ‘Flame of Liberty’ from Bayeux, France, feeds the Dutch ‘Freedom Fire’. This French flame is brought annually to The Netherlands by the “Freedom Ride”, a famous French-Dutch bicycle relay, celebrating with a big ceremony of its arrival on 18th of September.  


During the ceremony, the Wagenings Pallas ‘67 club receive this French ‘Flame of Liberty’ to bring further to Wageningen; they cover in the night the 110km route of the “Hell’s Highway”, taken by the Allies during the liberation of the south of the Netherlands at the Operation Market Garden, igniting the Liberation Fire at the eleven war monuments. Finally, they arrived in the morning in Wageningen to light the National Freedom Monument.

This is the moment that starts the registration of the next National Liberation Fire Relay on the 5th of May. The baton is passed, and a new cycle of Peace begins!    

The year 2023 participated 1700 runners from 87 athletic groups all over the coutry! 

(photo: Igniting the Flame at the national Freedom monument) 

The Dutch ‘Freedom Fire’ unites people 

 It is deeply moving to discover that there have been so many people and organizations continuously working on freedom and peace in the world, and involved for decades with passion to keep this tradition and its spirit alive. It is the true hope for humanity. This Flame unites people with a single and universal goal for the world: peace and freedom for all. 

This is exactly the same goal as the Flame of Hope. What an honor to receive this Dutch ‘Freedom Fire’ with its rich history. I was so thankful and excited to witness these two flames being united. And honored to spread its message beyond the Netherlands. 

 “Freedom is not self-evident, we have to work on it continuously.”  

With this spirit, the future of this planet is full of hope! Let’s increase this hope for everyone all over the world! 

I hereby express my gratitude for all organizations and people who are involved in the Dutch Freedom Fire. Many thanks to Alkmaars’ athletic association Hylas and all the other athletic clubs which joyfully spread the spirit of the Freedom Fire all over the Netherlands. My deepest respect and thank goes to the following organizations for their tireless work and kindly sharing information: