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Though the former camp and the radiotelescopes are on manucipality soil of Westerbork, the actual village is about 11 kilometres away from the visitor centre. Westerbork is an average little place within the agricultural landscape of mid-Drenthe. A pleasant countryside with large farms surrounded by their fields and acres, as well as here and there some forestry and heatherfields. The surroundings are popular by campers, that enjoy the peace and quiet of this area in the Netherlands.
Westerbork even offers the visitor a small and funny museum: the "Knipsel" museum. Here one can see many items over about 300 years of paper cutting art. The museum offers a funny few hours when the weather is driving you indoors.
Updated Mar 14, 2005
Favorite thing: When at the end of the 30's in the 20st century, jews felt less and less at home in Germany, large numbers started crossing the border into the Netherlands, seeking refugee here. Some were provided shelter within the homes of family and friends, others were taken into refugee camps, such as Westerbork itself! In May 1940 Germany invaded the neutral Netherlands by force and after bombing Rotterdam the Dutch surrenders, prevending the same faith for Utrecht and Amsterdam. The jews that fled to the Netherlands were trapped, though some found hiding places created by Dutch families. The Westerbork camp fell almost immediately after the invasion (it's only 20 kilometres from the border) and the Nazi's turned it into a "Durchgangs Lager" (assembly and transportation camp). The horror started and though some Dutch fought hard against the Nazi's, the majority was silent and took care of their own business. Waiting for the liberation started and would last five dark years.
Fondest memory: After a visit to Westerbork you are impressed and silent. You learn a lot about how unbelievable horrible human being can be, as well as how weak they can follow someone that is evil itself. The combination with the radiotelescopes made me wonder whether extraterrestrial life would appreciate us for the things we are able to do. Westerbork is truely a place that makes you wonder about many things.
Updated Mar 14, 2005