Netherlands turns important WWII heritage sites into national monuments

Bell on the remembrance site of the Waalsdorpervlakte near The Hague
Bell on the remembrance site of the Waalsdorpervlakte near The HaguePhoto: cakifoto/DepositPhotos

Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science wants to make sure World War II heritage remains protected and remembered. She therefore started the process of turning the Waalsdorpervlakte and the Oranjehotel into national monuments. She is also pushing 2.5 million euros into protecting Jewish heritage.

"We are celebrating 75 years of freedom this year. For me, the memory of freedom also means that we continue to protect heritage from this period to tell stories about war and occupation throughout the Netherlands", Van Engelshoven said in a statement on Wednesday. "Stories that are not only about then, but also about now: they teach us how important freedom is and how important it is to look after each other."

During the occupation years of the Second World War, the Waalsdorpervlakte was used by Nazi troops as an execution site. Resistance fighters imprisoned in the 'Oranjehotel' were put to death on the Waalsdorpervlakte. Both these sites will soon have the national monument designation.

Given the impact the Second World War had on the Jewish community, Van Engelshoven considers it vital to protect Jewish heritage. She is therefore allocating 2.5 million euros to maintenance and restoration of culturally important sites, paying specific attention to Jewish cemeteries. 

The Minister is also working on a plan to preserve the Dutch parts of the Atlantic Wall - the coastal defense line of the Nazis in Europe. Parts of this wall are already protected in the Netherlands, but there is little connection between them.