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South Holland

Introduction

Situated on the North Sea in the western Netherlands, the province of South Holland is home to some of the Netherland’s largest cities like Rotterdam and The Hague and smaller coastal towns like Scheveningen and Noordwijk. At the beginning of the Second World War, on 10 May 1940, German paratroopers were dropped in The Hague in an attempt to capture the Royal family and Dutch government. On 14 May, the Germans bombed and destroyed the centre of Rotterdam. The Hague, the province’s capital, became the centre of the German government in the Netherlands. In the winter of 1944-1945, known as the ‘hunger winter’, thousands of Dutch civilians died of famine. Today plenty of WWII sites can be explored throughout South Holland. Among them are the Waalsdorpervlakte, where many members of the Dutch resistance were captured and executed, or the Oranjehotel, where ‘the justice’ of resistance fighters took place. Another site is the Binnenhof, the traditional Dutch government centre and Parliament, which the German Sicherheitsdienst occupied during the war.

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