The Netherlands / Vector of Memory

Freedom Museum




The Freedom Museum is situated in the middle of the former combat zone of Operation Market Garden and the Rhineland Offensive.

Market Garden took place in September 1944. The goal was to take the bridges across the rivers Meuse, Waal and Rhine, paving the way for a rapid advance to Germany. Although the ambitious plan failed as regards its ultimate goal, the area around Nijmegen and Groesbeek was liberated by the British and Americans. Strategically, this turned out to be very important. Because in February 1945, after six months of heavy frontline battles, one of the greatest Allied operations from the Second World War started from this area: the Rhineland Offensive. It was the final push to Berlin, which resulted in the liberation of the Netherlands and Western Europe.

17th September 1944 saw the start of Operation Market Garden and, with it, the Battle of Arnhem. The Allies lost this battle, but the area around the city of Nijmegen was liberated, and the struggle for the city itself was won on 20th September 1944. However, for six long months, Nijmegen and the surrounding area subsequently found itself on the frontline and under continuous attack from German bombs and grenades.

Likewise, despite having been liberated on 17th September 1944, the area around Groesbeek soon became the target of terrible attacks from Kleve and the German Reischswald. Throughout the autumn of 1944, a total of 30,000 people were evacuated from Groesbeek and the surrounding villages. A farm in no man's land is a story about what happened at Groenendaal Farm on Wylerbaan Road.

During the long winter of 1944-1945, the frontline barely moved from its position between the Maas and Rhine rivers, extending from Mook, through Groesbeek and Wyler on to Erlecom. Then finally, on 8th February 1945, Operation Veritable made a dramatic push that would ultimately result in the liberation of The Netherlands and western Europe. The mammoth Rineland Offensive had begun, and it started in Nijmegen.