Perspectives on Freedom 2011-2016

Since 2011, we have produced cartoons for the National 4 and 5 May Committee in the Netherlands every year. These cartoons are about freedom and are related to May 5th, Liberation Day.

The Netherlands has its own tradition for commemorating WWII and celebrating the Liberation. Two days are set apart: one for observances and one for festivities. At the evening of the 4th of may, the Dutch remember the Dutch victims of WWII and victims of other wars and peace keeping operations since. On the 5th of may, they celebrate freedom. Not just by looking back, but also looking forwards.

In 2011, we did a project titled Freedom on the Streets. In the Netherlands we can walk the streets without fear of oppression or persecution. We live in a fundamentally free society. Unfortunately, there are still many places in the world where this freedom does not exist.

Iraq, Sudan and the Palestinian Territories are only a few examples of places where people do not have the freedoms that the Dutch take for granted. Closed borders, state corruption and oppression, women being forced to wear certain clothing, mines from past conflicts exacting a deadly toll from playing children; a large proportion of the world population is still faced with these and more 'unfreedoms' on a daily basis.

In 2012, the project Freedom from Generation to Generation produced cartoons that show how the concept of freedom changes over time and between generations. Although perspectives on freedom may differ, and the concept itself may evolve, its urgency and importance should never be forgotten.

In 2013, the theme is To Agree on Freedom: freedom is shaped by agreements, formed (both in a practical and judicial sense) through documents, rules, regulations and treaties. This is something of a paradox, because these rules and agreements not only grant freedom, they also determine the boundaries of this freedom.

In 2015 the theme is The Past - Unfinished Business. We created cartoons that show the need to remember the past in order to understand the present. Only then can we gauge the true value of democracy, peace and freedom.

In 2016, the theme is Embrace Freedom. When our freedom is tested, we must embrace ​it. This is easier said than done. It is far ​more simple to respond to hate with hate. ​Nonetheless, when confronted with pressure on our liberty and our open and democratic society we must never forget the morals, values and principles that make it open and democratic. To do so would mean we become the same as the aggressor, exchanging​ slowly but surely ​pluralism and unity for revenge, polarization and violence.

Every year, the selected cartoons are used in various publications, online and offline, to promote Liberation Day (May 5th), and to remind the Dutch just how special and important the freedom is that they have enjoyed since the end of the Second World War in 1945.