Why Denmark lights a candle every 4 May


“In this very moment, that Montgomery has announced that the German troops in the Netherlands, northwest Germany and Denmark have surrendered.”

This is a recording of the “Liberation Message” of the Danish voice from BBC May 4th 1945.

On May 4th 1945 at 8:35pm the Danish BBC broadcast speaker Johannes G. Sørensen from BBC announces that the Germans in Holland, North-West Germany and Denmark have surrendered.

During WW2, Aage Schnedevig in Hellerup, Copenhagen, recorded very secret on 78 rpm records most of the Danish News from BBC. On the first anniversary of the Liberation on May 4th 1946, this 78 rpm record was published with some of the most important sound tracks from this very historic broadcast from BBC on May 4th 1945. (in Danish)

Why do the Danes put candles in the window on May 4th?

The Liberation Message spread immediate joy and light in the streets around the country. After five years of darkness, people destroyed their blackout curtains and put a candle in the window as a symbol of the end of the Second World War.

Nowadays, seven decades later, the Danes continue the tradition by lighting candles in their window every 4 May as a reminder of the five years when Danish cities spent their nights in total darkness.

Copenhagen Liberation

Watch this AP documentary of the liberation of Denmark:

The capital of Denmark is free and a great ovation greeted King Christian X when he drove through the streets. The arrival of the Royal Navy at Copenhagen was another high spot. When Field Marshal Montgomery arrived he visited the harbour to see the German cruisers “Prince Eugen” and “Nurnberg” which had been taken there.