- Bowlespark, Wageningen, Nederland
In the first week of May 1945, negotiations took place between the Germans and the Allied forces. The Germans were willing to allow food transports, but were not yet prepared to surrender. The end of the war nevertheless suddenly became closer when news of Adolf Hitler’s suicide came out. On 6 May German general Blaskowitz signed the capitulation in Wageningen.
On 4 May 1945 Field Marshal Montgomery accepted the official surrender of the German army in North-West Europe at his headquarters on Lüneburger Heath in Germany. Then, on 5 May 1945, while Germany had already officially surrendered, General Foulkes, commander of the 1st Canadian Army, decided to draw up a separate surrender document. He summoned the German general Blaskowitz to Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen to sign the capitulation.
Initially, Blaskowitz sent his chief of staff, lieutenant-general Reichelt. However, he was told that this was not sufficient and that Blaskowitz had to come himself. At four o’clock that afternoon, Blaskowitz came to the hotel. Prince Bernhard, acting as commander-in-chief of the Dutch Interior Forces was also present at the meeting, along with a large number of reporters and cameramen.
A detailed document of surrender was presented to Blaskowitz who asked for 24 hours delay in the signing of the document in which he could asses if he could meet all of the demands stipulated in the document. Blaskowitz returned the next day (6 May) to sign the official surrender of all German forces in the Netherlands. After five years of occupation the country was free once again. Although the war was officially over, a number of unfortunate incidents still took place. Some German forces refused to lay down their arms and clashed with member of the Dutch Interior Forces or members of the resistance. In Amsterdam such an occurrence led to the death of 19 civilians.
‘City of Liberation’
Nowadays Wageningen calls itself ‘City of Liberation’. Every year on 4 and 5 May, the city commemorates the second world war and celebrates freedom. Highlights are the famous parade, in attendance of veterand and the freedomfestival with stage throughout the center. throughtout the year activities are being organized around the thema Peace and Safety. For an overview of all events please visit the website http://www.wageningen45.nl/. (Dutch)
‘Virtual Tour Hotel De Wereld’
The story of the capitulation has been reenacted. Watch was happened on 5 May 1945 in Hotel De Wereld. Walk around the negotionstable and relive the moment. Click the link for a virtual tour.
Bowlespark road in Wageningen, near the Museum De Casteelse Poort. GPS code: 51°57’52.76’’N 5°39’56.52’’O