Battlefields in Holland
Despite its small size, Holland has seen its fair share of battles. From ancient times through to the Eighty Years’ War, the Battle of Waterloo right up to the Second World War and many more besides. The Dutch have been involved in a lot of conflicts so there is much to see in the way of historical battlefields.
A great way of seeing the battlefields of Holland is by car, as some of the more remote locations are difficult to reach by public transport. You can take one of our car ferries from Newcastle to IJmuiden and start your journey from there, or sail from Dover to Dunkirk or Calais. The Dutch roads are really easy to negotiate and having your own car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace.
Header image credit: Rob Dammers
Made famous by ‘A Bridge Too Far’, Arnhem witnessed major events from Operation Market Garden, an allied offensive which took place across Holland and Germany. There are tours available with guides in English and you can see where the fighting took place around the bridge, and there are some great museums to visit too.
Visit Arnhem Airborne Museum which is located in the old Hartenstein Hotel, which was used in 1944 as the 1st Airborne Division’s headquarters.
It’s now an excellent museum of the battle and you can follow in the footsteps of British parachutists as they made their way to fight at Arnhem.
You can also visit The National Liberation Museum, which is located on the site where paratroopers from the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division landed as part of Operation Market Garden.
Image credit: Airbournemuseum
Overloon was the site of one of the fiercest tank battles of the Second World War, where an American and British armed division was met with fierce German resistance and fought for 20 days, with over 300 tanks being destroyed. The site of this battle is now home to The Overloon Oorlogsmuseum which is the largest war museum in Holland.
The complex includes the National War and Resistance Museum as well as the Marshall Museum, which boasts a vast collection of more than 200 historic military vehicles. The National War and Resistance Museum documents the history of the Second World War and also contains tanks, planes, anti-tank weapons and other remnants of the war. You can also see original bunkers and military hardware in the park along with several artworks commemorating various events, people, and groups affected by the Second World War.
Image credit: bertknot
Memorials in Oosterbeek
On 17 September 1944, the 1st Airborne Division began landing west of Arnhem, but German resistance, bad weather and problems with supplies and reinforcements led to heavy losses.
They were forced to form a perimeter at Oosterbeek which they held until they decided to withdraw the remnants of the division. Oosterbeek War Cemetery contains the graves of most of those killed during the September landings, and many of those killed in later fighting in the area.
There are now 1,680 Commonwealth servicemen of the second world war buried or commemorated in the cemetery.
Image credit: FaceMePLS
Nijmegen was the centre of Operation Market Garden. With its two bridges across the Waal River, it was vital for the Allied advance towards Arnhem and Germany later on. On 20 September 1944, U.S. troops managed to capture both bridges and liberated the city.
Part of the bridge was destroyed by the German defence, and later rebuilt. Today, at one side of the bridge you’ll find the remainder of a German tank used for the defence of the bridge. You can also visit Bevrijdingsmuseum which documents the air landings at Nijmegen as well as Holland’s overall involvement in the Second World War.
Image credit: inyucho
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