Experience The Netherland's road to freedom
In 2019 and 2020, The Netherlands will celebrate 75 years of freedom. On 5 May 1945, the country was liberated when German General Blaskowitz signed the order to surrender in the province of Gelderland. But the road to freedom was not easy. With major operations such as Operation Veritable and Operation Market Garden taking place in the province, Gelderland was on the front line for many months. Visit the historical sites, museums and monuments and experience The Netherland’s road to freedom.
The largest Allied attack since Normandy took place in the province of Gelderland in 1945. Surprisingly enough, it was on the smallest battlefield! The code name is Operation Veritable. British Field Marshal Montgomery planned to conquer the left bank of the Rhine. In just over a month, the army grew to almost 500,000 soldiers.
At the beginning of February, the British and Canadian troops were ready to attack with more than 1,000 artillery guns and 34,000 vehicles on a ten -kilometre front. Montgomery hoped to reach the Rhine quickly by attacking over frozen terrain. The attack started with a gigantic artillery bombardment, which stunned the defenders. Unfortunately, it had started to thaw, and the operation ended in a large mud bath.
The recently renovated Freedom Museum is located in the area where the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division landed on 17 September 1944. This area was also the starting point from where Operation Veritable was launched in February 1945. In the museum, visitors can experience the occupation, celebrate the liberation and see the reconstruction of The Netherlands and Europe.
With interactive presentations, dioramas, original film and sound fragments, the liberation is depicted in a fascinating way. Highlights are the hiding place, the dome of honour with the names of all the Allied casualties and the scale model of Operation Market Garden.
Freedom Museum| Wylerbaan 4, 6561 KR Groesbeek
parking for buses | accessible | group rates
Canadian War Cemetery
This impressive cemetery in a beautiful location serves as the final resting place for the fallen Canadian soldiers. With 2,617 soldiers, this is the largest cemetery of the British Commonwealth in The Netherlands. All but one of the Canadian soldiers who died during Operation Veritable are buried here.
Canadian War Cemetery | Zevenheuvelenweg 38, 6561ES Groesbeek
Parking for buses | free entrance | accessible
WWII information centre Nijmegen
In the city centre of Nijmegen, an interactive presentation tells the story of Nijmegen on the front line. Nijmegen played a decisive role in Operation Market Garden. With two bridges over the wide River Waal, the city was crucial for the Allied advance towards Arnhem and then Germany. At the information centre, the history of WW2 is told through historical images.
WWII information centre | Ridderstraat 27, 6511TM Nijmegen
remote bus parking | accessible | group packages and rates
Photos: Marike Gerritsen et al.