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WWII Home Base & Tours

We are starting off with 4 nights in Amsterdam and want to go to Belgium to tour Bastogne- Battle of Bulge and any other WWII sites. We are planning to spend the 4 days in Belgium and fly out of Brussels.

Do you have a recommendation for a great town to stay in as a home base? Do you have a recommendation for a WWII tour or private guide. We are also thinking about renting a car to be able to see off the beaten path WWII sites. Has anyone done this and if so can you share your itinerary/experience?

Thank you

Posted by
1005 posts

If you want to go to Bastogne, rent a car. The public transportation links are inconvenient, and the Battle of the Bulge Museum is outside of town. The museum is brand new and very well done--be sure to give yourself at least two hours there. If you have a relative who served during the battle, I would definitely hire a guide who can take you to the sites where he was stationed. I would not spend four days in Bastogne unless you are absolutely fanatic about the Battle of the Bulge.

You might want to combine Bastogne with places in the southern Netherlands which were part of the failed attempt to invade Germany--immortalized in "A Bridge Too Far." Arnhem and Eindhoven are supposed to have very good museums about that campaign. There is also a good WWII museum in Luxembourg if you don't want to drive all the way to Holland.

You need to do your homework now to have a successful trip. Get some good guidebooks, cruise the Internet, and talk to your family about what they might want to see. I visited a Belgian airbase where my dad was stationed during the battle. It is still open and run by the Belgian Air Force. I told them I was coming and got the royal treatment. The Belgians haven't forgotten and are very grateful for the sacrifices made by Allied soldiers to liberate their country. Visiting these places will be an unforgettable experience.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you very much for the helpful information. We will be starting out in Amsterdam so I think we could visit Arnhem/Eindhoven before heading to Bastogne.

Thanks again.

Posted by
121 posts

Hi - My parents toured Bastogne a few years ago with Roby Clam and found him to be great. My grandfather was with the 9th Armored Division during the Battle of the Bulge and Roby tailored their day to be in locations where the 9th Armored was stationed. They stayed somewhere in Luxembourg.

I've also heard about a guide named Henri Mignon. I can't personally vouch for him either but met and talked to a WWII vet that was going to tour with him last year.

Good luck!

Posted by
20 posts

We were very pleased with the Hotel du Sud in Bastogne. Nothing fancy, but it has been renovated and is convenient to the main square. Easy parking, warm welcome, family run. We also used it as a home base for Bastogne and Luxembourg.

Posted by
521 posts

Hi Jennifer we used Malmedy as a base since it had a hotel with an indoor swimming pool (kids were 15 and 12 at the time) and its in the middle of the sights in the area. Be sure not to miss the Malmedy Massacre museum in Malmedy. Best museum we have been to. Also the barracks in Bastogne. They are on trip advisor. We missed it, ran out of time 4 years ago. Also the Mardasson Memorial right next to the Battle of the Bulge museum. We were there and saw one of the greatest sights ever. We were in the parking lot leaving and two f-16s flew over the memorial at about 500 feet off the ground at about 300 mph. Wrangled their wings in salute. Great to see one generation honoring another. Brought tears to our eyes.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank for the great information. I will be sure to add the museum and memorial to our itinerary.

Thanks to all for your responses!

Posted by
1803 posts

There is an amazing WWII museum in Diekirch, Luxembourg -- less than an hour from Bastogne. After the Battle of the Bulge, local farmers gathered up tanks, trucks, uniforms, weapons, etc. left in their fields and stored it all in their barns. At some point they decided to create this museum and display it all there. It's the most remarkable place, with everything from cigarette packages and bandages to parachutes and field kitchens. They created some life-size dioramas using actual uniforms, weapons, etc. Posted on the walls are letters and photos of Americans who fought in the battles around Diekirch. You could easily spend several hours here.

It's very moving to read the account of the parade in Diekirch after the town was liberated. Grateful citizens waved homemade 48-star US flags made from cut-up Nazi swastika flags. There was a big banner, still in the museum, that says "Welcome to our liberators." They love Americans in Luxembourg, which was gratifying.