Paesi Bassi / Luogo di interesse

Canadians across the Zeegser bridge



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Zuidlaren was liberated by Canadians on 13 April 1945. As the bridge between Tynaarlo and Zuidlaren had been blown up by the Germans, the route passed through Zeegse and Schipborg over the 'Zeegserbruggetje', which was later named after resistance fighter Johannes Hovenkamp.

On 13 April, Canadian Bren Carriers rolled from the direction of Vries to Zuidlaren. The column came to a halt in front of the destroyed bridge over the Drentse Aa. The answer to the question 'what now' came from some youngsters. They explained to the liberators that there was another little bridge over the Drentsche Aa: the wooden 'Zeegserbrug' in Zeegse. It had not been destroyed, so it was still possible to reach Zuidlaren through Westlaren.  

In Westlaren, residents sang the national anthem at the top of their voices and many with tears in their eyes. Flags went up in numerous places. Many people in hiding started showing up on the streets. Some had 'disappeared' for years. At 11.30am, Canadians from The Royal Canadian Hussars reconnaissance regiment stood on the Brink in Zuidlaren. The Brink village was liberated. 

Not a single shot was fired with the liberation of Zuidlaren. The reconnaissance unit moved on. The troops that followed stayed for longer. Brink filled up with Canadian Army vehicles. It was a treat for many young people to get to ride along in a jeep or on a motorbike of the liberators. The Canadians generously handed out cigarettes, chocolate and biscuits. Young people in particular enjoyed these products from a world they were not familiar with. 

The Internal Armed Forces (Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten - BS) sprung into action to clear out the village. At the helm was Mayor Roukema, who had been in hiding until then. He made a public address that same afternoon.