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Liberation close by, resistance in action

7.27 km


Leeuwarden was liberated from Nazi occupation in April 1945. The city got liberated by the Royal Canadian Dragoons, who made a major contribution to the liberation of Friesland. A confluence of circumstances also allowed them to be the first Canadian unit to be received in Leeuwarden. The bond that then developed between Leeuwarden and the Royal Canadian Dragoons has since remained.

Before and during the liberation of Leeuwarden, local resistance fighters deluded the German forces twice. The first moment was in December 1944, when the detention centre in Leeuwarden was raided by armed resistance. The action successfully freed 51 people without a single shot being fired.

The second moment was when the German ‘Sprengkommando’ placed explosives on the Leeuwarden Post Office. The building was one of the key targets for the Canadians since it was essential to the functioning of telephony and telegraphy in Friesland. Destruction of the post office would make communication between the advancing Canadians and the resistance sabotage groups much more difficult. Once the German troops tried to blow up the building, they discovered the local resistance changed. The explosives for fake ones made of wood.

Learn more about the local resistance and the Second World War in Friesland in the Fries Verzetsmuseum.