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Netherlands for WWII sites

Hello,

My husband and I are interested in WW1 and WW2 history, he particularly likes military history and visiting historic sites. I have managed to find an interactive map showing bunkers and their historic value through the world wars, and there are many in the Netherlands, but am curious...

In the Amsterdam and surrounding areas are there any bunkers that are easy to get to and accessible by public transportation. We don't mind taking a day to travel and explore, but I'm not sure of the ease of access through the website/map I found. In particular, I think he would like to see the gun type bunkers on the coast and I would love to surprise him with this during our four days in Amsterdam.

Any other World War cities or towns to visit besides Arnhem, I would welcome the information!

Posted by
1981 posts

We really enjoyed the Ten Boom house in Haarlem, a very short train ride from Amsterdam. I had read Corrie Ten Boom's book about how the family hid Jewish people during the war and being able to see the secret hiding place in their house. It is worth a half day at least.

Posted by
228 posts

If you search Zandvoort bunkers or Bloemendaal bunkers .nl you will find a lot of info. Some bunkers are ruins and some still standing .
www.zandvoort-holland.com/zandvoort-bunker & www.bunkerpictures.nl/datasheets/holland/datasheet-bloemendaal.html There are also pictures of ' tank walls ' . After the war people were finally free to travel again and bunkers were used as cabins for a vacation at the beach by some . VVV Zandvoort should be able to also give you info . Good luck !

Gail recommended you visit the Corrie Ten Boom Huis/House in Haarlem and if you decide to visit this you will be close to Zandvoort !

Posted by
228 posts

Looked up the address of the Zandvoort tourist office ( VVV is ' tourist info ' in the Netherlands ) . www.vvvzandvoort.com/ Mailing address : VVV Zandvoort
Bakkerstraat 2/B
2042 HK Zandvoort aan Zee
The Netherlands
Phone + 31 (0) 23 57 17 947

Posted by
513 posts

http://www.bevrijdingsmuseum.nl

The above link is to a site for the operation Market Garden Museum at Groesbeek, a suburb of Nijmegen. This is an excellent museum and since you plan on being in the area already (Nijmegen is only a few km from Arnhem) I thought you might be interested. Also worth seeing while in Nijmegen is the bridge, now named for the US Airborne division commander during Operation Market Garden, which was the bridge in the title of the WWII film "A Bridge Too Far". Many good WWII sites in the greater Arnhem/Nijmegen area.

Posted by
7 posts

THANK YOU so much everyone! I am going to start mapping out our Amsterdam trip with all these great ideas! My husband and I have watched "A Bridge too Far" and I know he would welcome visiting that site. I will look into the book recommendation as I grew up in a heavily Jewish populated town and have always studied the Holocaust, even as a young girl. :)

Posted by
1691 posts

There is also an Airborne museum about Operation Market Garden in Oosterbeek just west of Arnhem. If it is of interest I think well to combine with a visit to Groesbeek and the bridge in Nijmegen.

In Hoek van Holland, west of Rotterdam there is an Atlantik Wall museum at walking distance from the railwaystation. Travelling time about 1½h with the train from Amsterdam Centraal. If there are plans to stay in Belgium, for instance Brugge you can visit the one near Oostende. http://www.atlantikwall-museum.nl/

As far as I know Overloon houses the most extensive WWII collection in the Netherlands, but it will need some 2½h to get there.

For public transport planning you can use: http://9292.nl/en

Posted by
3706 posts

The Netherlands have a two-day commemoration in early May, one for remembrance of the Second World War and the next day to celebrate liberation and the end of the war in Europe. The small city of Apeldoorn is host to one of the most touching of the ceremonies, a simple parade of old soldiers and old military vehicles. The residents bring their children -- now the great-grandchildren of those who were set free -- to line the path of the parade and thank the veterans. Most are Canadians. There were over 100 vets in 2015, the 75th anniversary, almost all 90 years old or older, and so each year there will be fewer and fewer of these living testimonies to history. Here is a view of this modest but important event and a calendar:
http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/netherlands/liberation-day

Posted by
89 posts

In Breda, you can visit General Maczek Museum and Polish Military Cemetery, where he and his soldiers are buried.
General Stanisław Maczek was the commander of 1st Polish Armoured Division that liberated several cities in Europe from German occupation, including Breda, Gent and Ypres.

Posted by
5595 posts

AFAIK, the current bridge in Arnhem is the third since WW II. It was just as interesting to find a plaque on one of the very few older buildings saying (in Dutch only) that it was the SS headquarters. Nijmegen also seemed very modern to me.

Posted by
1005 posts

In you want to just stay in the Netherlands and see part of the Atlantic Wall, then the museum in Hoek van Holland (http://www.atlantikwall-museum.nl/) is your best choice. In Amsterdam, the Dutch Resistance Museum is one of the best resistance museums in Europe--plan on half a day there. I also agree that the Corrie ten Boom House in Haarlem is a unique WWII site--intimate and compelling story of how this family saved about 800 Jews and resistance fighters. You can make reservations online now for the morning tours, but you must reserve at least 10 days in advance.

Since you'll be travelling a lot by train, consider getting the Tripkey card, which is a transit pass like the Dutch OV-chipkaart, but works better for foreigners since it links to your credit card account.

Posted by
1691 posts

Many places have suffered from serious fights in this part of Europe, so many places have there own tragic story to tell, but not all get the attention they actually deserve. For instance around this time of the year we commemorate here the liberation of the Delta Region, more specifically the “Battle of the (Western) Scheldt”, the 50 mile long waterway to Antwerp by mainly Canadian, Polish and British troops.

The battle was so fierce as Montgomery had decided to delay this battle for launching Operation Market Garden first and so gave in the meanwhile the Germans the opportunity to regroup and turn the Western Scheldt estuary into a very tough stronghold. The estuary was vital as waterway to the North Sea for the almost intact captured harbour of Antwerp. As supply lines were still running back all the way to Normandy there was a desperate need for a large harbour like Antwerp closer to the rapidly progressing front.

Not to forget is that other parts in the Netherlands due to the failure of Market Garden had suffered very much during that tragic “Hongerwinter” (hungry winter) that followed, so understandable that Operation Market Garden has for this reason such an important place in our national history.

Posted by
8293 posts

"Heavy fighting by Canadians on Walcheren .Island. But who cares?"

We Canadians care.

Posted by
13026 posts

"The Netherlands never took part in WW1" It would have been invaded had the original Schlieffen Plan of 1905 been adhered to since it called for crossing into the province of Limburg, the "Maastricht appendix" as a way of bypassing and flanking the Liege fortresses. In 1914 it was decided to scrap that original plan of 1905 for a more "watered down" one.

I know this is a post for the Netherlands, but if you are really interested in WWII history, why not do Normandy (if you haven't already). The area is so rich with WWII sites: Pointe du Hoc, Sainte-Mère-Église, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Longues-sur-Mer Battery, and the beach itself. I'd highly recommend the trip, very impactful.