7 ways to experience the North Brabant war history
Whether you are looking for an accessible way to experience the history of the war, or want to immerse yourself in personal stories, there’s plenty to see and experience in North Brabant. Visit Maczek Memorial, cycle through the War Museum, experience an exhibition or plan an educational day out with the children.
1. A global first: cycle through the War Museum
Even the New York Times thought it was worth reporting. Visitors to the Overloon War Museum in Overloon are able to cycle 90 metres through the main museum hall itself, at a height of three metres. The bridge gives you a wonderful view of the enormous World War Two collection with hundreds of military vehicles and cannons. The War Museum is also recommended for families with children: exciting, environmentally conscious, and educational. For a weekend away, combine the museum with the Zoo Parc Overloon and the adjacent Landal De Vers bungalow park.
2. Maczek Memorial Breda
The Maczek Memorial Breda tells the story of the efforts made by Polish troops in the Second World War to liberate large parts of this country. You can listen to personal stories by young Polish men about their journey across Europe in order to sign up with the Allies and their operations during the liberation of Breda and other places. A special mention should be made of General Stanislaw Maczek (1892-1994), commander of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, who liberated Breda with very few civilian casualties.
3. Visit Camp Vught National Memorial
Confrontational. Impressive. Goose bumps. These are some of the frequently heard responses to Camp Vught National Memorial. The museum is housed on the grounds of the only former SS concentration camp in the Netherlands, five kilometres from the centre of ’s-Hertogenbosch. The museum is suitable for children from about the age of 10.
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4. Cycle the Liberation Route through North Brabant
A cycle route that connects the most important milestones from the Second World War in Brabant. Liberation Route Brabant takes you past war stories, audio columns, monuments and museums which together make the impact of war visible. The cycle route makes use of the cycle route network in Brabant. Check out our route page for more information or to order route maps.
5. Wings of Liberation Museum
Army vehicles, machines, aircraft and cannons that were actually used during Operation Market Garden. This is a selection of the impressive collection of the Wings of Liberation Museum in Best. Did you know that you can learn to fly in the cockpit of a flight simulator? If you contact them in advance you can even go for a ride in a historical army vehicle.
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6. Murals in Breda commemorate 75 years of freedom
In association with Brabant Remembers, the Blind Walls Gallery has produced three murals on the theme of ’75 years of freedom’, inspired by life-changing war stories.
- In 2019 the Polish artist Otecki produced a huge painting based on the liberation of Breda on 29 October 1944. Breda was liberated by the First Polish Armoured Division under the leadership of General Stanisław Maczek, making it one of the most important events in Breda’s history. This 27 metre high painting is a memorial to these men who gave up their lives for our freedom.
- Illustrator Marije Maria has produced a colourful mural on the wall of the East Indies Museum from the Arjati Foundation. The design is inspired by various stories from the foundation’s volunteers. Rice paddy fields, batik cloth and Melati flowers feature on the colourful wall. The painting commemorates all victims of the Japanese occupation of the former Dutch East Indies during the Second World War.
- The artistic duo TelmoMiel painted an artwork inspired by the renowned incident known as ‘de Vlucht’ which took place on 12 May 1940. When Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940, mayor Van Slobbe initiated a large-scale evacuation. This evacuation, better known as ‘De Vlucht’ is a subject often talked about to this day. On the evacuation day, almost all of Breda’s 50,000 residents fled from their houses. They left in various groups towards the south. Delivery bikes, farm carts and prams were packed to the brim so they could take as many possessions with them as possible.