Our Road to Freedom – Liberation Route Europe

September 19, 2014

`The Liberation Route is a unique way of experiencing what happened in the east of North Brabant, around Arnhem, Nijmegen and the Veluwe in 1944 and 1945. It takes you to almost 90 audio spots, each marked by a large boulder and each with its own interesting and often moving story about the civilians and soldiers who lived and fought there during the end of the Second World War.

How can you follow the Liberation Route?

We’ve designed the Liberation Route so that you can be your own guide. You can plan your own route and choose whether or not you want to walk it, cycle it or drive it. It’s entirely up to you.

All of the audio spots are marked on the map on our website and in our brochure. On our website you’ll find information about the nearest memorials, museums and cemeteries: photos, videos, routes, package deals en events. You can also download all of the audio stories as MP3s, for free.

Museums

There are a number of war museums in the areas around Arnhem, Nijmegen, North Brabant and the Veluwe worth visiting. They’ll tell you even more about the Second World War, about Operation Market Garden and Operation Veritable. We can recommend the Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ (located in the former headquarters of the British troops), National Liberation Museum 1944-1945, National War and Resistance Museum Overloon and the Camp Vught National Memorial (the only official SS-concentration camp in occupied North-West Europe). For all of the regions’ museums, memorials and cemeteries have a look at www.liberationroute.com.

Operation Market Garden

The Allies launched Operation Market Garden on 17th September 1944 to liberate the Netherlands and put an end to World War II. This enormous military operation consisted of large-scale airborne landings (Market) and an infantry advance from Belgium, through North Brabant towards the Maas, Waal and Lower Rhine rivers in the province of Gelderland (Garden). British, Polish and American airborne troops were ordered to take the bridges over these Dutch rivers, and then make a quick advance up towards Lake IJssel. The aim was to cut off the German troops in the west of the Netherlands so that the Allies could make their advance into the industrial heart of Germany, the Ruhr.

“Liberators as stars from the skies” – Audio story #9 – Groesbeek

On the 17th of September 1944, countless parachutists and gliders with military equipment landed here in Groesbeek. Operation Market Garden had begun. Many eyewitnesses recall the fierce fighting. Many kept a diary. Years later, Father Hoek from Groesbeek and Lieutenant Bliss provide us with their still gripping accounts of those days… >

http://www.liberationroute.com/luisterplekken/09-groesbeek-bevrijders-als-sterren-uit-de-hemel/

Despite the fact that this was one of the largest airborne operations in history, Operation Market Garden was only partially successful. After heavy fighting, Nijmegen and large parts of North Brabant were liberated, but despite a number of initial victories, the Allies failed to maintain their position in Arnhem. The northern half of the Netherlands was not liberated until the spring of 1945.

“A bridge too far” – Audio story #22 – Arnhem

It was meant to be a quick Allied victory. But the battle of Arnhem is one of the heaviest defeats on the Allied side. In the battle that lasted for days for the Rhine bridges, there were huge losses on either side. Lieutenant Colonel John Frost and his men defend themselves until their ammunition runs out… >

http://www.liberationroute.com/luisterplekken/22-arnhem-een-brug-te-ver/

September 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of Operation Market Garden and commemorative events will be taking place in various places in the Netherlands. There will be celebrations and commemorations in remembrance of the battles that took place there 70 years ago. Keep an eye on the website www.marketgarden70.nl for more information. You’ll find a calendar of commemoration and attractive package deals including hotel accommodation.

Crossing Europe

We are currently working very hard on the European expansion of the Liberation Route. In total, the allies covered some 3000 kilometres during 1944 and 1945 in their efforts to liberate Europe from the occupying forces. It starts in the south of England where the soldiers crossed onto the Normandy beaches on D-Day, through Paris, the Ardennes, North Brabant, Nijmegen, Arnhem, the southern Veluwe region and the Eifel region in Germany, on to Berlin. The route takes you past heroic battles where tens of thousands of soldiers lost their lives whilst trying to liberate Europe. These places tell stories that have since been forgotten; some that have never been told. After its launch in June 2014, Liberation Route Europe plans on telling them. It plans on sharing these stories, from this gruesome part of history, with the world.

In June 2014, a new website in 5 languages and an app will be launched for telling the story of the liberation of Western Europe. Stories about historical events that took place in the Polish Gdansk will also be part of the Liberation Route legacy.

Keep an eye on the website www.liberationroute.com and follow the path of our liberators!

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