Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper are meeting to kick off a week of celebrations and remembrances to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of World War II.

During a series of ceremonies all through the week, Harper and leading Canadian officials will commemorate the 7,600 countrymen who died while helping to liberate the nation from Nazi oppression.

From the autumn of 1944 right through the next spring, the First Canadian Army played a major role in liberating the Netherlands. The last German soldiers in the Netherlands surrendered on May 5, 1945.

During the war, some members of the Dutch royal family stayed in Canada and many bonds have lasted to this day.