barnacle goose, carrier pigeon, cormorant, EU, Freedom Museum, greylag goose, Groesbeek, Nationaal Bevreijdingsmuseum, National Liberation Museum, Nazism, Nijmegen, Operation Market Garden, Rhine, Rhineland Offensive, sugar beet, Vreiheidts Museum, Waal, Wiel Lenders
Sunday 15th September. We were free for the early part of the morning as the chapel was being used for eucharist. So I went out for a short walk with Clementine and Mariske. The first thing I saw of note was a huge pile of sugar beet, a first for me.
After a late morning rehearsal and lunch, we piled into a coach to be taken to what had, until recent renewal and enlargement, been called the Nationaal Bevreijdingsmuseum (National Liberation Museum). Having just reopened on 1st September, it was now called the Vreiheidts Museum (Freedom Museum). The Museum was the sponsor of our entire weeklong visit. The journey to Groesbeek took about 45 minutes.
As we arrived, a Dutch Band, calling itself Bill Baker’s Big Band, was playing American dance music of the ‘forties.
We stood and listened for a while, before moving to the museum itself.
Once inside we assembled in the café, were given vouchers for refreshments to be taken later, and were welcomed by the Director of the Museum.
As planned, we moved back to the performing area,
and sang four short items from our programme, not under the tent but in front of it. The woman singing with the band had been amplified and I was a little concerned that the audience would not be captured by our acoustic sound, but they were, and were highly appreciative. I was delighted to find that we had been singing under the EU flag.
After refreshments, we were then free to look around the museum. This was very comprehensive, and dealt fully with the build-up to WWII, its roots in WWI, poverty and unemployment, the rise of Nazism, and moved on to the course of the war, particularly as it affected the Netherlands. Here are just a few of the many photos I took, some of them not as focussed as they might have been by my less than steady hand in dim light.
As I went round, I felt so strongly that our current politicians, many of them a near generation younger than me, should be obliged to visit this museum to understand what the EU is really all about, and why it was created.
This was ironically brought home even more as we realised that our route home was actually taking us through a small corner of Germany. Only the yellow street signs told us we had crossed a country border.
Olive Simpson said:
I have always been fascinated by the part pigeons played in the war – extraordinary to hear they had to do parachute jumps into the bargain!
The thought of pigeons with pigeon-sized parachutes is mind-boggling!
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You are so right about today’s politicians!
I found myself returning to the thought time and again over the following days, especially since the subject of you-know-what was often discussed, the Dutch just totally puzzled.
A little accurate history would not go amiss, I agree.
A privileged and mightily expensive education guarantees nothing.
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An excellent museum, helping to make sense of past events – and being useful in applying what can be learnt from them for the future – if only!
It seems that people just don’t learn from history.
When you told me about Operation Market Garden, it didn’t ring any bell, but “la bataille d’Arnhem” belatedly does. The parachute dome is a fitting design.
It has replaced a smaller but steeper one.