Liberation route Son en Breugel

Hear the hum of hundreds of planes and watch the thousands of falling parachutes. That's what the inhabitants around Son en Breugel experienced on 17 September 1944.

3 hour 50 minutes (46.0 km)

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Hear the hum of hundreds of planes and watch the thousands of falling parachutes. That's what the inhabitants around Son en Breugel experienced on 17 September 1944. Discover places that will tell you all about the heroic battle of Operation Market Garden, such as the Wings of Liberation museum. Read, hear and experience stories of sacrifice, but also of moments where the war could briefly be forgotten. And stories about bewildered Germans and the allied race against the clock to relieve their comrades.

The Liberation Route Brabant tells the story of the liberation, but also shows what the Second World War was like for ordinary people who lived in Brabant at the time. Eight cycling routes, spread across North Brabant, lead you past the Brabant Remembers stories, the Liberation Route Europe audio columns, monuments and museums. Together they make the impact of the war on North Brabant clear, even all these years later.

Sights on this route

Starting point:

Sonseweg 39
5681 BH Best
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On Sunday September 17, in three quarters of an hour, more than 4.500 paratroopers are dropped in this area.

Liberation from the air
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Things were tense around the village of Best from 18 September 1944 onwards. American soldiers were approaching from Eindhoven, German soldiers were entrenched in the tall church tower in Best.

A small shiny box
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This memorial commemorates the landing of ten thousand paratroopers of the 101st American Airborne Division. The troopers were under the command of General Maxwell Taylor and landed here in September 1944, after which Taylor used the castle as headquarter

Monument Castle Henkenshage
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This monument is located in the side wall of the former Sint-Oedenrode town hall. It was established in memory of the eleven paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division who died during the liberation and defence of Sint-Oedenrode. The Airborne monument wa

Airborne Monument
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“Monument to the Dutch” is the only monument in the Netherlands that was donated by veterans of the 101st Airborne Division to the Dutch population in the liberated corridor.

Monument to the Dutch
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To secure the strategic bridges captured earlier by airborne forces, the Allied ground troops of Operation Market Garden, created a narrow front along a two-lane road heading north.

Hell's Highway
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Eerde is the first village to be liberated by American paratroopers on the 17th of September 1944.

Listening column - The observation posts over the battlefield at Eerde
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The love affair between Elaine Smith and paratrooper Carman Ladner was full of hope. Carman announced that he was leaving for New York in order to join a mission to England.

MY PHOENIX ROSE FROM THE ASHES HERE
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On 18 and 19 September 1944, unprecedented fierce fighting is raging in these woods.

Robert Cole and Joe Mann
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End point:

Sonseweg 39
5681 BH Best
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Story of the route

Starting point:

Sonseweg 39
5681 BH Best
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  • Wings of Liberation Museum
    Return to the time of liberation, the time of the roaring engines of fighter planes, heroic pilots and American paratroopers. The Wings of Liberation Museum (Museum Bevrijdende Vleugels) tells the story of the liberation of the southern Netherlands at the end of the Second World War. The museum is located in the middle of the zone where air landings took place on 17 September 1944 during Operation Market Garden. The occupation, oppression and eventual liberation are explored in detail in the various halls of the museum.

  • Monument Castle Henkenshage
    This memorial commemorates the landing of ten thousand paratroopers of the 101st American Airborne Division. The troopers were under the command of General Maxwell Taylor and landed here in September 1944, after which Taylor used the castle as headquarters for several days. 

  • Airborne Monument 
    This monument is located in the side wall of the former Sint-Oedenrode town hall. It was established in memory of the eleven paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division who died during the liberation and defence of Sint-Oedenrode. The Airborne monument was unveiled in September 1987 by Allen Bartham, one of the platoon commanders of the American B Company in September 1944.

  • Monument to the Dutch
    This monument was donated fifty years after Operation Market Garden by the veterans of the 101st Airborne Division. With it they expressed their appreciation for the courage, friendship and sympathy of the population of the Corridor, the strip of 'free territory' from which the Allies would liberate the rest of North Brabant.

  • Windmill at Koevering
    Many mills in the south of the Netherlands were severely damaged or even destroyed by acts of war in September 1944. The windmill at Koevering could not escape the violence of war either. On 25 September 1944, the mill was set on fire because it was thought to be used as a watchtower. The mill was not rebuilt after the war.

  • Spitfire Play Monument
    Schijndel airstrip was located here during the Second World War. This monument was created on the initiative of Theo Jansen. He wrote a book about the former airstrip in which he expressed his hope that there would be a monument there one day.

  • Windmill at Eerde (St. Anthony)
    Windmills had a rough time of it during the occupation. Harvests were confiscated and people weren’t allowed to keep more food than was strictly necessary. The upper floors of the mill at Eerde were used by the Americans as an observation post. A strategic position, as a result of which the mill frequently ‘changed hands’. The mill was conquered and recaptured no fewer than six times in one week during the heavy fighting.
    The windmill was heavily damaged during the fights that ultimately led to German defeat in the Eerdse Bergen dunes on 24 September 1944. After that the English wanted to demolish it, to make room for the construction of an airstrip. Luckily, these plans were never implemented. But after the war, in 1946, the upper and most heavily damaged part of the mill was demolished after all, to the disappointment of many. Between 2001 and 2011 the windmill was restored to what it looked like in 1944.

  • Joe Mann Monument
    This memorial stone from 1984 commemorates the place where American paratrooper Joe Mann was killed on 19 September 1944. He saved the lives of his comrades during the conquest of the Wilhelmina Canal. Heroically he blocked the explosion of a grenade by throwing his body on top of it. For this act he posthumously received the highest American military award: the Medal of Honour. 

End point:

Sonseweg 39
5681 BH Best
Navigate to endpoint
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