Princess Beatrix opens WWI pavillion

This morning Princess Beatrix opened the Netherlands and World War I pavilion at Huis Doorn, once the estate of fleeing German Emperor Wilhelm II. 

The story is told in the former garage of the emperor, which once housed ten of his cars.

The First World War is underexposed in the Netherlands, says curator Cornelis van der Bas, it is our job to change that. According to him, there is a misunderstanding that the neutrality of the Netherlands meant that very little happened here. 200 thousand men were kept under arms to protect the Netherlands against both England and Germany. There was a shortage because the Dutch merchants literally had to navigate between British mines and German U-boats.

The exhibition shows how the Netherlands regularly had to deal with foreign forces. For example the British bombers who crashed in Zeeland on their way to Belgium, or the German submarines that were stuck in the Wadden Sea.

This project marks a restart for the museum, which was threatened with closure a year ago because their subsidy was drastically reduced. Director of the museum, Herman Sietsma, hopes that the pavilion will attract 10 thousand extra visitors per year, reports