December 17, 2017

Independence Day Celebrations across Europe

Yesterday the United States celebrated the 235th anniversary of its Independence.  It is a day to spend with friends and family commemorating the time when our forefathers declared we would be free of British rule.  We celebrate by having BBQ’s, enjoying local parades, watching fireworks, proudly waving our red, white and blue flags and eating apple pie.

I began to wonder how European countries celebrate their independence.

I randomly selected the following six countries to research how they celebrate their independence or not.

Belgium celebrates its Independence Day on July 21.  This National Day is in recognition of the day in 1830 when they declared their independence from the Dutch.  During the Belgian revolution, on July 21, the 1st Belgian King was inaugurated, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg who was a German!  There is a grand celebration in Brussels where everything is dressed in black, yellow and red flags.  After dark, enjoy wonderful fireworks erupting over the Royal Palace.

Belgium Independence

Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830, Gustaf Wappers

Germany celebrates its Day of Unity on October 3 in celebration of the reunification of East and West Germany.  The Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989 but the treaty reunifying Germany wasn’t signed until October 3, 1990.  There are many festivals and celebrations held locally across the country.

Ireland doesn’t celebrate an Independence Day because the whole of Ireland is not united.  Instead they honor the Easter Uprising which began on April 24, 1916 and was the day Ireland declared their independence from Britain.  For a better understanding of the events surrounding the Easter Uprising, watch the movie Michael Collins.

Birth of the Irish Republic

Birth of the Irish Republic

August 1 is Swiss National Day and it commemorates Switzerland’s First Federal Charter of 1291.  This day is celebrated locally across the nation with parades, fireworks and by displaying the Swiss flag.  It is during this celebration that the Rhine Falls are festively lit up.

On June 25, 1991 Croatia declared it’s independence from Yugoslavia vowing to fight for this independence and keep its borders intact.  At the end of the brutal war, that is what was achieved.   To celebrate this day, Croatia celebrates Statehood Day each June 25 with some parades, speeches and lit candles honoring those who died fighting for Croatian freedom.

July 14 is the day France celebrates Bastille Day or La Fete Nationale (The National Celebration) commemorating the storming of the Bastille on this day in 1789.  This was one of the biggest events that occurred during the French Revolution and is seen as the beginning of the end of the constitutional monarchy which then led to the First Republic.  Bastille Day is celebrated across the country but Paris has the biggest celebration which includes a large Military parade down the Champs Elysees with jet flyovers, fireworks, music, and balls across the town.  I’m sure if you look, you will be able to find a Bastille Day celebration somewhere near you!

Storming of the Bastille Paris France

Storming of the Bastille © Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons


Have been to another country during their Independence Day celebration?

What was it like?

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  6. I remember I was in France once and the French flag was draped all along the Champs Elysee. It was quite stunning.
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’m sure that would be quite an amazing sight. I would love to be in Paris during the Bastille Day celebration!

  7. As usual, a very informative post. I would be too lazy to look all of this up on my own 🙂
    The Travel Chica recently posted..Beautiful Palace + Wine + Delicious Pizza = A Regular Night in BA

  8. Laurel says:

    Interesting round up. I’ve been in Germany three times on Oct 3rd but have never participated in any independence day celebrations. I really should do that this year.
    Laurel recently posted..Barefoot Park – Germany’s Quirkiest Attraction?

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      It would be nice but I find it strange that the smaller villages don’t really celebrate! Hopefully you found a way to honor Canada Day 🙂

  9. Sabrina says:

    Nice round-up! You know, I actually remember when they changed it Germany in 1990 to make it October 3rd. It’s not celebrated like July 4th in the US though. Or at least not in the smaller towns. The big cities put on more of a show. I spent one July 14th in France and LOVED it. I was in Paris and got to see the best fireworks display right over the Eiffel tower that night and it was so memorable.
    Sabrina recently posted..4th of July in Texas: Fireworks Pictures, Video, Mini Time Lapses, and a High Speed Video

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I think being in Paris for Bastille Day would me amazing! That parade would be so awesome.

  10. Fascinating topic and great research! I think it would be fun to attend the independence day celebration of a new country like Croatia.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..Five observations about Boston that surprised me

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I would like to attend some of the celebrations too and think Croatia or some of the newer countries would be very interesting!

  11. Ayngelina says:

    I was going to ask about why Canada wasn’t included and then remembered we’re not republic but still member of the commonwealth.
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’m sorry I couldn’t include Canada but the list only included European countries.

  12. You always come up with wonderful research and present it in such an interesting way on your blog. This was fun – and education – to read… my favorite! 🙂
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Thanks for your very kind comments! Its great to know that people find the information presented useful and/or interesting.

  13. You know I was actually wondering this, too. I’ve never actually researched it. I’m a bit hung over from the fourth so this is a good day to be lazy and let you do the research for me 😉
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  16. Why wasn’t school as interesting as your blog? I could have learned so much!
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    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Oh thanks for your kind comments. I wasn’t very interested in history when I was in school. Now I wish I would have paid more attention because I am fascinated by it!

  17. Katherina says:

    I find the Swiss National Day great! I’m always impressed by their fireworks, you can really see this country boosts of national pride (and money). Not sure if it’s the same across the whole country, but here in Geneva region, all fireworks are red and white… and last for like 45 minutes!
    Katherina recently posted..Photo Essay: The Terraces of Lavaux

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Wow, I’m jealous. . . 45 minutes of fireworks!! Usually they are only about 20 minutes. That must have been pretty impressive. I would like to experience a National Day sometime.


  1. […] honor of Bastille Day, here are a couple photographs of one of the iconic symbol of Paris – the Eiffel […]

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