Today in Arnhem to walk the airborne March in Oosterbeek tomorrow. Short stop at the Eusebius church. Unfortunately, the viewing platform was already closed, but the inside of the church gave interesting information about the late Middle Ages and the ruler of this area, Karel van Gelre. Also interesting are the three church bells with visible bullet impacts from the battle of Arnhem. A short stop at the bridge is a must.
This Pentecost weekend we went to Ypres. It had been on my list for a while to take a uta step to the battles surrounding the 1st world war. Heard Ypres by name a lot, but never really delved into it until now.
In a sun-drenched Ypres, it is clear that the city has had a rich history, with of course the Lakenhal as the most important testimony. How ironic it is to know that all this has been razed to the ground and rebuilt again. Churchill had other ideas about this, but looking at the city now I say that would have been a loss. Nevertheless, the amount of cemeteries testify to the horrendous numbers of lives that were wasted in these ruins of the city and surroundings. Too many to visit them all. But the largest is one of them, however ironic the name is. Tinnie Cot. Due to the amount of graves, I felt the need to also go to a cemetery that may receive little attention and is remote. It became xxx cemetery.
Spent this weekend in Drenthe at Wapserveld. Apart from the beautiful nature, a lot can be found of remains or information about the Second World War. A short visit to the Havelteberg and Holtinger heath again gave interesting facts about the airport (“Fliegerhorst Havelte”) which was built here during 1942 to 1944. Ultimately never put into use, but among other things, due to the threat for Operation Market Garden bombed violently. Several specific parts are still clearly visible in the landscape. Such as the spitter boxes and runway turned back into roads or grass fields. But also the many bomb craters that are scattered on this site are quite visible.
Went to family in Arnhem today. From now on, every time I’m in Arnhem, I’ll try to take a photo or two of key sites during Operation Market Garden. Much has already been done, but being in the right place makes it a bit more special and Arnhem always has a special place for me. Likewise today. Unfortunately it was already dark before and it was raining when I arrived at the Utrechtseweg. Went to two important photographic places: Arnhem municipal museum and the opposite house (no. 88). Only at that place do you realize how close everything was: the bridge, the perimeter and hotel Hartenstein. It must have been pretty desperate.
At Vetschau, near Aachen just before the border with Germany, the railway crosses a part of the Westwall, specifically the Siegfried Line. The Siegfried Line was a defence system stretching more than 630 km (390 mi) with more than 18,000 bunkers, tunnels and tank traps. This rail connected Maastricht with Aachen. Because the rail connection to the west was important for the war, special facilities were built here that made it possible to block the route in case of emergency. In this case, iron girders were clamped between concrete blocks to prevent tanks from driving over them.
Passenger trains were shut down between 1940 and 1945 due to the war. Passenger traffic was finally discontinued on May 30, 1992.