The Netherlands / Cemetery
Over 3,900 war victims are buried at National War Cemetery Loenen, including those who lost their lives in different places around the world, in varying circumstances. Among the buried are military personnel, members of the resistance, people who escaped the Netherlands during the first years of WWII and went to England to join the Allies (‘Engelandvaarders’), and victims of reprisals and forced labour. The National War Cemetery Loenen also includes the graves of those who died during the Indonesian War of Independence, military casualties from New Guinea, and victims of peacekeeping missions in Korea, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Mali.
In 1947, the Dutch Government decided to transfer the remains of Dutch people who had been killed in Germany back to the Netherlands. These war victims had been laid to rest in foreign soil, and many did not get a decent burial. In 1948, to facilitate this decision, the Netherlands War Graves Foundation made plans for a National War Cemetery in Loenen, in the municipality of Apeldoorn. On 18 October 1949, the cemetery was inaugurated by HRH Princess Wilhelmina. Today, there are almost 4,000 Dutch people buried in this war cemetery, with reinterments still taking place regularly. National War Cemetery Loenen was specially designed to scatter the graves over a 17-hectare wooded area, with fairly inconspicuous graves and without the straight lines of crosses. Instead, each grave is marked by a flat stone, with each inscription conveying its own story.
The cemetery is the final resting place for a wide range of Dutch WWII victims. There are not only military personnel who were killed in action, but also many civilians: members of the resistance, political prisoners, those who escaped the Netherlands during the first years of WWII to join the Allied forces in England (Engelandvaarders), and victims of forced labour (Arbeitseinzatz) in Germany. A centrally located chapel houses a shrine for commemorative books, a wooden triptych listing the names of the Engelandvaarders, and several urns containing ashes from concentration camps. Since the 1980s, in addition to WWII victims, military personnel and civilians who were killed during peacekeeping and security operations have also been buried or reinterred at National War Cemetery Loenen.