This year, three quarters of a century after the end of WWII, Europe is celebrating 75 years of freedom.
Commemorative events began on June 6 in Normandy, France, on the famous beaches where the Allies landed in 1944. In the Netherlands, Dutch memorial events commenced on August 31 at Terneuzen, Zeeland, where the Battle of the Scheldt took place in October and November 1944.
75 years of freedom in the Netherlands
Throughout the end of 2019 and well into 2020 there will be Holocaust remembrance ceremonies and celebrations of freedom in many regions across the Netherlands.
On the Battlefields Cruise WWII, a historic eight-day cruise developed by Cultural Cruises Europe especially for this special anniversary, there will be ample opportunity to reflect on this historic time. With us, you’ll travel from Amsterdam to Maastricht, or vice versa, as you visit the most important WWII sites in the Netherlands.
Important WWII sites in the Netherlands
Here’s a preview of five important historical sites you’ll visit on the Battlefields Cruise:
Amsterdam – Resistance and the Holocaust
As you enter the Dutch Resistance Museum you’ll step back in time to the 1940s, learning how the Dutch responded to the increasing oppression of the occupying power.
Your guide will also take you to visit the Hollandse Schouwburg, a theatre that was used as a deportation center for Jews during WWII. Today it is a remembrance monument, bearing the 6,700 family names of the 104,000 Dutch Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Wageningen – Nazi surrender
Visit ‘Hotel de Wereld’ in Wageningen, where the capitulation of the German occupier became fact in 1945.
Canadian General Foulkes chose this hotel as a negotiating spot because of its location, the absence of civilians due to evacuation and the metaphorical nature of the name ‘The World’.
Arnhem – Operation Market Garden
Although several Dutch cities on the Allies’ route through the Netherlands were liberated during Operation Market Garden, the final goal – the crucial bridge at Arnhem – could not be retained.
The famous book and movie ‘A Bridge too Far’ tells this tragic story. With the Battlefields Cruise you’ll visit the John Frost Bridge, the Ginkelse Heide, the Airborne Museum and the British War Cemetery.
Overloon – War museum and cemetery
During a visit to the National War and Resistance Museum in Overloon, the largest war museum in the Netherlands, you’ll not only learn how more than 50 million people lost their lives in just five years, but also how the Dutch managed to survive the restrictions and shortages of oppression.
A visit to the German War Cemetery at Ysselsteyn and a stroll around the castle gardens of Arcen will also be on the itinerary.
Margraten – Sacrifice and liberation
A local guide will tell you about life in Roermond during the last months of the war, when the German defense line ran right through the city, which caused great suffering among inhabitants.
Another important city during the liberation of the Netherlands was Valkenburg, where several hundred people took refuge in local marl caves during heavy fighting. Before arriving in the beautiful city of Maastricht, you’ll pay a visit to Margraten, the American Cemetery and Memorial that commemorates 8,301 US soldiers – a very impressive site.
A moving journey
These are just some of the places you’ll visit on the historic cultural cruise. This moving journey back in time offers a powerful opportunity to learn and to reflect on what the past can teach us about the preciousness of freedom.