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.
The Liberation Route Brabant is part of the cycle route network in North-Brabant. There is a Liberation route sign at every intersection. Follow the Liberation Route signs from one numbered intersection to the other. Follow the cycle route network signs between the intersections.
Route Breda - 42 km
This route in and around Breda shows the victory march of the Poles. In 1944, under the leadership of General Maczek, they liberated the city. Thanks to Maczek's insight, a large part of the city was spared. Even so, for the residents and those who live nearby, there's enough suffering to commemorate. From the drama in the woods, because the war lasted a few weeks too long for some, to the door-to-door fighting. On 5th September 1944, 'Dolle Dinsdag' ('Mad Tuesday') happened, as the end of the Second World War was (mistakenly) announced. The wheels of the resistance started turning. In silence of course, but how long can you keep that up?
Route Gilze-Rijen - 42 km
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.
Route Vught - 30 km
The route in and around Vught recalls many life-changing events during the Second World War. For instance, in the small seminary of Beekvliet in Sint‑-Michielsgestel, many influential and well-known Dutch people were held hostage. But the darkest story is that of the construction of Camp Vught, an SS concentration camp. A place of exclusion and oppression, where tens of thousands of Dutch people - including Jews, political prisoners, hostages, men, women and children - were detained for long and short periods of time. Some were released, but others never knew freedom again. More than 12,000 Jews were transported from Camp Vught to the extermination camps in the East. Only a few would survive. The stories, monuments and museums on this route recall the dark time of war and emphasise the importance of peace and freedom.
Route Son en Breugel - 46 km
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.
Route Bergeijk - 47 km
This route goes through the area where the English scouts first arrived on Dutch territory. In the run-up to Operation Market Garden, this group of scouts was able to move almost as far as the River Dommel. In the Kempen, you'll find many stories of courage and of struggle. The early arrival of the English brought hope. Yet much had to be endured before the liberation finally happened. The locations of the crashed planes and the stories of the difficult passage of the English tanks bears witness to this.
Route Landerd - 45 km
This route is located in the municipality of Landerd for the most part. Here, airports, crashed aircraft and Operation Market Garden play an important role in the stories and experiences of the residents. An area that had a turbulent history at both the beginning and the end of the Second World War. From the Germans who bombarded the casemates in 1940, to the Allies who - with the help of heroic inhabitants - tried to hastily cross the area in 1944.
Route Asten - 47 km
Brave deeds and atrocities alternate on this route. Cycle past the museum farm where the English Field Marshal stayed, and discover the castle that came under fire even after the liberation. Learn all about the defences of both the Dutch and the German armies, and be moved by the heart-breaking stories about innocent children in wartime. Happiness and misfortune were strange bedfellows in Asten.
In addition to these eight North Brabant cycle routes, there will be a ninth Liberation Route that will run through both the province of North Brabant and the province of Limburg. The theme of this route is 'the other side'. The route connects the town of Overloon in North Brabant with the village of Ysselsteyn in Limburg. Ysselsteyn houses the only German military cemetery in the Netherlands. In Overloon you will cycle over a new bicycle bridge that runs right through the Overloon War Museum. A special experience!