Pays-Bas / Audiospot

Food transports





In April 1945 the population of the Western part of the Netherlands was starving. The Allies decided to negotiate food aid. The Germans cooperated. In the first week of May part of the town of Wageningen transformed into a huge storage area. From there 750 Canadian lorries started to distribute food.

Although the first warnings of looming food shortages in the Western part of the Netherlands had reached the Dutch government in exile in September 1944, the problem could not easily be solved. Initially it was hoped that the Netherlands would be liberated before the situation became critical. The failure of Operation Market Garden put an end to these hopes.

On 17 September 1944 the Dutch government in London called for a general railway strike in the Netherlands in an effort to support the Allied advance. In retaliation, the Germans refused to allow food shipments to the civilian population in the Western part of the country.

The winter of 1944-1945 was unbearably cold. The result was wide-spread hardship and starvation in the west of the Netherlands. By April 1945, people were dying by the score. The Allies decided to negotiate food aid with the Germans. These negotiations took place in the small village of Achterveld on 28 April 1945 and resulted in food drops by bombers, provisions being shipped in by boat and distributed by road. Canadian lorries brought 300 tons of food to an area called Nude in the town of Wageningen every day. From there, Dutch lorry drivers transported the food to distribution points. The Canadians provided 750 3-ton vehicles and huge amounts of food parcels were piled up along the road from Wageningen to Rhenen. The deliveries started on 2 May 1945. One week later, 30 trucks passed the demarcation line every thirty minutes.

Hoek Nude-Costersweg, Wageningen.