WWII in Gelderland

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WWII in Gelderland

In 1944 and 45, Operation Market Garden and the Rhineland Campaign played out in the province of Gelderland.

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Gelderland played an important part towards the end of WWII. One of the biggest air landing operations of all times occurred here during Operation Market Garden in 1944. Heavy fighting took place around the cities of Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem. A few months later, the Allied armies started marching on the Rhine during the Rhineland campaign.  

  • Commemorate the Battle of Arnhem in different places near Oosterbeek and Arnhem.
  • Visit the National Liberation Museum 1944-1945 at Groesbeek in the former battle zone.
  • Listen to stories from WWII at the audio sites along the Liberation Route.

Operation Market Garden

Operation Market Garden was one of the biggest Allied operations in WWII and occurred in September 1944. The operation aimed to conquer the bridges across the Meuse, Waal and Rhine rivers in Holland. This would allow Allied troops to avoid the Siegfried line, a defense line running from Switzerland to Kleve. It was hoped that a quick advance to the Ruhr area and Berlin would put an end to the war around Christmas. The battle was successful until the Battle of Arnhem. In the end, the Allied forces did not manage to conquer the last bridge near Arnhem: It was ‘a bridge too far’.

Rhineland Offensive  

After Operation Market Garden proved a failure, the Allied troops conceived of a different way to advance into the heart of Nazi Germany: the Rhineland Offensive. They wanted to clear the area west of the Rhine from German troops and cross the river by means of several large-scale operations. Early in February 1945, 500,000 Allied soldiers were brought together near Groesbeek and Nijmegen, bringing 1,000 cannons and 34,000 vehicles with them. It was the biggest offensive ever started on Dutch soil.

Museums

The National Liberation Museum 1944-1945 in Groesbeek allows you to experience the period before the war and occupation, celebrate the liberation and witness the reconstruction of Holland and Europe.

Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ in Oosterbeek is the museum that provides information on the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. The award-winning Airborne Experience (900 m2) puts you right in the middle of the battle, bringing the Battle of Arnhem home.

The ‘Battle of Arnhem’ Information Center is located at the foot of the historic John Frost Bridge in Arnhem, the ‘bridge too far’. It shows unique images and audio fragments of witnesses: civilians and Allied and German soldiers.

The De Polen van Driel Information Center in the village of Driel discusses the battle of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade during Operation Market Garden.

Liberation Route Gelderland

You will find big boulders in several places in the province where you can listen to stories from the war: the so-called audio sites. The locations can be found on www.liberationroute.com. If you are not near an audio site, you can listen to the stories online or download them via the Liberation Route Europe app. The websites also publishes routes and package deals.

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