Rotterdam unites over food on Liberation Day

Rotterdam unites over food on Liberation Day

ROTTERDAM, 6 April 2023 – The Rotterdam Freedom Meals (Rotterdamse Vrijheidsmaaltijden) event returns this year, with thousands of Rotterdam residents gathering at various locations to reflect on freedom and share their stories about both freedom and unfreedom.

Organisers and participants

In every corner of Rotterdam, from East to West and North to South, Freedom Meals can be found on May 5th. Diverse venues, speakers, caterers, photographers, community teams, musicians, and word artists collaborate and share Freedom Meals and their stories of freedom and confinement. Residents can join a communal meal throughout the city, whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a café, care center, theater, or simply with neighbors on the street. Each Freedom Meal features a story about freedom, sometimes subdued and intimate, other times exuberant and grand. For a complete overview of all Rotterdam Freedom Meals, visit the official website.

5 Freedom Meal Highlights in 2023:

1. Brutus proudly presents the Freedom Lunch and an exclusive tour of the exhibition “Through Bone and Marrow,” combining art and culinary indulgence for an enriching and inspiring experience from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. In collaboration with the Mano Foundation.

2. Theater Zuidplein hosts the Rotterdam Freedom Meal and The Freedom Factory in Zaal-Z on May 5th from 4:00 pm. Enjoy tasty soup, engaging stories, and join LOKAAL for an inspiring evening of film, expo, and conversations. Celebrate freedom on this special day full of culture and connection.

3. Visit the Buddhist center Phuntsok Chö Ling for delicious soup and experience a meditation session (optional and free). Drop-in starts at 5:30 pm. Register by May 5th, 12:00 pm, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

4. Join LantarenVenster between 5:00 and 7:00 pm for a Freedom Soup at the LV Restaurant. Enjoy live poetry by Keanu Rae (Spraakuhloos) and beautiful trumpet playing by Peter Somuah. Reservations for the soup are not necessary. Afterward, watch the film “No Dogs or Italians Allowed” at 7:30 pm (ticket required).

5. Enjoy special Freedom Dishes at various Rotterdam eateries, such as DUDOK Rotterdam (homemade Freedom Soup), Broodje Q (Freedom Sandwich), or Alfredo's Taqueria (Freedom Margarita).

A new tradition

Over the past three years, the foundation for a new Liberation Day tradition has been established in Rotterdam, centring around freedom and connection. The Rotterdam Freedom Meals event serves as a unifying, citywide festival where residents can get to know one another over a meal and cultural programme. Meals are hosted at various locations throughout the city, including cafés, care centres, theatres, or even neighbours' streets, and are available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Freedom Soup: the symbol of Liberation Day

Each year, a Dutch chef creates a unique recipe for a special Freedom Soup (Vrijheidsoep) to support the Freedom Meals event. The intention is for the soup to become a symbol for Liberation Day, much like oliebollen for New Year's Eve. This year, TV chef London Loy has developed an exceptional corn soup recipe, inspired by his Surinamese roots. “If I can help people think about freedom, I am very happy. Whether it's with soup, another dish, or just a conversation,” says London Loy. Organisers can prepare the Freedom Soup themselves, or it is available in a limited-edition canned version designed by Piet Parra at various Rotterdam shops.

In 2023 TV chef London Loy developed an exceptional corn soup recipe, inspired by his Surinamese roots.In 2023 TV chef London Loy developed an exceptional corn soup recipe, inspired by his Surinamese roots.

The history of Rotterdam Freedom Meals

In 2020, Kelly Leeuwis and Berend van Zanten started the Rotterdam Freedom Meals event as a way to connect Rotterdam residents. The goal is to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones and engage with others, discussing what connects them. Today, the Rotterdam Freedom Meals team consists of a dedicated group of young Rotterdam residents striving to make the city a better place. Together, they work to organise hundreds of Freedom Meals throughout Rotterdam, so residents can join a meal and engage in meaningful conversations in every neighbourhood on 5 May.

Joining the Freedom Meals event

The Rotterdam Freedom Meals website provides a comprehensive list of locations hosting a Freedom Meal in Rotterdam. If you're interested in organising your own Freedom Meal, you can sign up through the website. With the Rotterdam Freedom Meals event, residents come together to celebrate freedom and connect with one another, fostering a sense of unity and understanding on an important day in Dutch history.

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