In September 1944, the American army crossed the Dutch border near Maastricht from Belgium: this is when the liberation of Holland started. The allied forces managed to liberate big parts of Limburg in the same year. You can find historic sites, cemeteries, monuments and Liberation Route audio sites in several places in the province. These sites commemorate the heavy fighting that preceded the liberation.
- On the audio sites, you can discover how Roermond was hit as a city on the front lines.
- Visit the military cemeteries near Ysselsteyn and Margraten.
- Witness the battle at the Eyewitness Museum.
The liberation of Limburg
The allied forces crossed the Dutch border near the village of Mesch in Zuid-Limburg. They reached Maastricht just two days later. Heavy fighting occurred in the rest of the province in the period after that. The Meuse river became a front line. Roermond was largely evacuated and the cathedral tower was blown up.
On 1 March 1945, the allied forces liberated Venlo in the north of Limburg. An important part of this was conquering the airport, which was baptized ‘Yankee 55’. The site had to be rebuilt from the ground up as the Germans had blown up all of the buildings and landing strips before they abandoned the airport. Because there were no buildings, the Americans set up a tent camp they called ‘ the Venlo Hilton’. It took until 1945 to liberate the entire province of Limburg.
Places to see
You can visit war cemeteries in several places in Limburg. The Margraten cemetery near Maastricht has 8,301 American graves. Ysselsteyn has the biggest war cemetery in Holland with over 32,000 German soldiers. The Eyewitness Museum, in which lifelike mannequins and original materials are used to show real scenes from the war, is located in Beek.
Liberation Route Limburg
Big boulders are distributed throughout Limburg; these are the so-called audio sites. Here, you can listen to audio theater about the end of WWII. You can download the stories for free from the website or the Liberation Route Europe app. For routes and package deals, please visit www.liberationroute.com.