Liberation route Gilze Rijen

Even today, Gilze-Rijen is dominated by flying and by planes. Immediately after the occupation, in May 1940, the Germans expanded the existing airport  and renamed it Fliegerhorst Gilze-Rijen, one of the largest airports in Europe.

3 hour 30 minutes (42.0 km)

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Even today, Gilze-Rijen is dominated by flying and by planes. Immediately after the occupation, in May 1940, the Germans expanded the existing airport  and renamed it Fliegerhorst Gilze-Rijen, one of the largest airports in Europe. This military installation had a huge impact on local residents. Bombing of allies, employment of local residents to conduct repairs - and on this route, you'll read and hear all about it. Prepare yourself to hear some interesting stories: from the lucky resistance fighter, to the story of the Good German.

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:

Alphenseweg 14A
5126 PN Gilze
Navigate to starting point
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32
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The military collection at Gilze-Rijen Air Base collects, manages and displays historical air force memorabilia from around the region. In addition, this exhibition gives an insight into the exceptional role of this air base in the region. Distinguished b

Gilze-Rijen Air Base Military Collection
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During the Second World War the Gilze-Rijen Air Base extended as far as here. There are the remains of a number of bunkers on the edge of the wood, with the bullet holes still clearly visible. Fourteen small, concrete ammunition bunkers once stood here: s

Remains of the bunkers in Hulten
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Gilze-Rijen air base was frequently bombed by the Allies. To prevent the airfield from being destroyed, a decoy airfield, De Kiek, was constructed between Alphen and Riel. From the air it looked identical to Gilze-Rijen, and just like Gilze-Rijen it was b

De Kiek decoy airfield
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At the end of 1940, the Luftwaffe confiscated about thirty hectares of woodland between Gilze and Chaam, with the intention of constructing a large, luxurious army camp. The entire complex was completed by the end of 1941. The camp consisted of about fift

Former German Military Camp Prinsenbosch
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End point:

Alphenseweg 14A
5126 PN Gilze
Navigate to endpoint

Story of the route

Starting point:

Alphenseweg 14A
5126 PN Gilze
Navigate to starting point
  • Gilze-Rijen Air Base Military Collection
    The military collection at Gilze-Rijen Air Base collects, manages and displays historical air force memorabilia from around the region. In addition, this exhibition gives an insight into the exceptional role of this air base in the region. Distinguished by its size and diversity, the exhibition has a number of themed collections which are divided into the periods 1909-1940, 1940-1945, and the period after 1945

  • Remains of the bunkers in Hulten
    During the Second World War the Gilze-Rijen Air Base extended as far as here. There are the remains of a number of bunkers on the edge of the wood, with the bullet holes still clearly visible. Fourteen small, concrete ammunition bunkers once stood here: storage places with space at the front suitable for providing cover or for shooting. The bunkers formed part of a complete defence system of military surveillance and defence objects.

  • De Kiek decoy airfield
    Gilze-Rijen air base was frequently bombed by the Allies. To prevent the airfield from being destroyed, a decoy airfield, De Kiek, was constructed between Alphen and Riel. From the air it looked identical to Gilze-Rijen, and just like Gilze-Rijen it was built next to a railway line, the Bels Line. It was a good attempt to mislead the frequently tired and disoriented Allied pilots. De Kiek was therefore bombed several times.
    Whereas many of these fake airfields have since disappeared, a large part of De Kiek was fenced off after the war. It was used during the Cold War as a military surveillance base. Nowadays the area is used to render unexploded ordinance safe, and military exercises are still held here. Unusually, there is still a bunker on the site. There are also photos from the beginning of the war which show how the locals and the soldiers ‘got on well’ with each other, even though that was forbidden at the time.

End point:

Alphenseweg 14A
5126 PN Gilze
Navigate to endpoint
  • 15
  • 13
  • 16
  • 11
  • 32
  • 42
  • 19
  • 71
  • 01
  • 43
  • 54
  • 55
  • 08
  • 09
  • 34
  • 47
  • 74
  • 70
  • 72
  • 67
  • 68
  • 69
  • 15
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