In 2019 and 2020, we will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. The Second World War is now far behind us, and the number of people who personally experienced the war is becoming even smaller. It is now even more important to commemorate this history, remember their stories, and to celebrate their accomplishments. The Europe Remembers 1944 – 1945 campaign has been created to publicize these commemorative events during these two anniversary years.
Europe Remembers : On tour !
In cooperation with numerous hiking associations in our partner countries, the LREF has established a network of hiking specialists and historians in order to develop a trail stretching from London to Berlin. As part of Europe Remembers’ promotional activities, we will walk along the commemorative route that the Allies took in 1944 and 1945, to actively bring it to the attention of the public. Interviews will be held with veterans, young people, politicians, historians and prominent figures of society, who will walk part of the Liberation Route with us.
May 20 to May 24 2019 : From London to Portsmouth
The first leg of this “On Tour!” initiative took place in the UK, starting in London and ending in Portsmouth.
June 3 to June 6 2019: The D-day in Normandy
The second leg of this “On Tour!” initiative took place in Normandy, starting in Utah Beach on June 3rd and ended in Lion-sur-mer on June 6th.
July 13 to July 15 2019: The battle of Normandy and the Liberation of Caen
Mid-july we were back in Normandy, focusing on civilians at war and the Liberation of Caen.
August 24 to August 25 2019: The Liberation of Paris
During the celebration weekend in Paris, we were lucky to visit both the Army Museum, and the new Museum of the Liberation-Moulin-Leclerc. We had a guided tour of the historical locations of the Liberation in Paris with guide Mélanie Mayer. We also attended commemorations in honor of the fighters from La Nueve company and the official commemoration and liberty ball on the City Hall square.
August 31 2019: Kick-off of a year long celebration in The Netherlands
We were in Terneuzen on August 31st for the official launch of the 75th year of freedom anniversary in the Netherlands.
August 31 and September 1st 2019: The Liberation of Mons
We were in Mons this weekend to visit the Mons Memorial Museum and attend the 75th anniversary of the Liberation. Then, we followed the route from Mons to Brussels with historical stops focusing on the resistance and the Piron Brigade.
September 3 to September 4 2019: The Liberation of Brussels
On September 3rd and 4th 2019, the city of Brussels celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Liberation. Ceremonies in tribute to all the liberators, special exhibits and interviews with historians gives a complete overview of the celebrations and focus on the historical importance of remembrance.
September 5 2019: Mechelen and Kazerne Dossin
We were in Mechelen for the Liberation Column where dozens of ww2 vehicles stopped on the magnificient main square.
Next, we visited Kazerne Dossin and Fort Breendonk, two historical landmarks of Nazi barbarism turned into memorials and research center for the Holocaust.
September 6 to September 8: The Liberation of Antwerp
We were in the city of Antwerp for the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Liberation.
We visited the temporary exhibition “Joy and Sorrow” and interviewed the curator Anne-Sophie van Vyve, historian Frank Seberechts and the Ambassador of Germany in Belgium, Martin Kotthaus. The celebration weekend ended with an impressive joint parade of military (modern and historical) vessels and aircrafts.
September 12 2019: The Liberation of Mesch
Mesch was the first village to be liberated by the allied forces in the Netherlands. Veterans from the Old Hickory division (the liberators of Mesch) were present.
September 17 to September 22 2019: Operation Market Garden
During 6 days we were walking along the Liberation Route following the footsteps of Operation Market Garden.
On the first day we attended a memorial jump by US veterans and the ceremonies at the Windmill in Eerde.
The next day, we visited the Wings of Liberation Museum, the Van Abbe Museum and the Paulushoef farm. At the end of the day, we took part in the military parade in Eindhoven.
During the 3rd day of our trip, we visited Freedom Museum in Groesbeek and had a guided tour of historical landmarks of Operation Market Garden in Groesbeek and Nijmegem. We ended the day at the bridge of Grave.
The following day, we took part in the Waal crossing in Nijmegen. We also stopped at the ‘Poles in Driel’ information center and ended the day with the Liberation Concert in Arnhem.
On the 5th day, we had a chance to see the parachute drops on the Ginkel Heath. We also visited the Airborne Museum Hartenstein and ended the day with 7000 people during the Sunset March in Nijmegen.
One of the highlights of this week’s commemorations was the ceremony at the Airborne cemetery in Oosterbeek on the last day of our tour. After the ceremony we were present at the spectacular crossing of the 6th Polish Airborne Brigade at the Driel ferry at the Rhine.
October 10 to October 12 2019: The Island, Betuwe
The Betuwe area in the Netherlands was in the frontline for 198 days in 1944 and 1945, right after the Operation Market Garden. During this Europe Remembers tour we visited the monuments, attended ceremonies and saw some central locations during the fighting in the Betuwe.
November 6 to November 7 2019: the Battle of the Scheldt
During this tour we visited different commemorations around the battle of the Scheldt. We visited the Sloedam and Hoedekenskerke. We also took a look at the Dilemma Maze in Bergen op Zoom and discovered War Museum Ossendrecht.
The following day, we visited historical locations in Vlissingen and Westkapelle. The team concluded the day with a visit to the renewed Liberation Museum Zeeland and the Liberation parade in Bergen op Zoom.