This is a really great museum if you want to find out all there is to know about "Operation Market Garden"in the Oosterbeek area.
In September 1944 more than ten thousand British & Polish Airborne troops fought in and around Arnhem. Their objective was take the Rhine bridge. Six hundred of them managed to reach the bridge. Waiting for reinforcements they fought for four days holding the northern ramp of the bridge. The rest of the force, however, didn't succeed in reaching them at Arnhem. They held out for a further five days at Oosterbeek before finally making their way across the Rhine to Allied held ground. Only 2,293 made it back to England.
During the battle the Hartenstein hotel in Oosterbeek the headquarters of the British divisional commander, Major-General R E Urquhart.
From the outside you only see two of the four floors of this huge and extensive museum.
It's well worth a visit.
Ginkelse Heide was drop Zone Y, the furthest form the bridge at Arnhem of all the DZs
The heath was a drop zone for the second lift of Operation Market Garden, scheduled for 10:00 on 18th September 1944. Bad weather delayed the drop until 15:00, which was a good thing. The Germans had by this time found a set of plans giving them all the details of the operation and were waiting for the drop in the morning. They had reduced in numbers by the time the actual drop took place later in the afternoon.
The heath is a long way from Arnhem, but after driving around the area for a few days, with all of the forests that are in the area, you can see somehow why this area was picked as a DZ.
There is usually a commemorative drop and a short service of commemoration at 11:00 on the nearest Sunday to 17th September Anniversary.
The memorial at Ginkelse heath, is in the form of a pillar with the insignia of the KOSB, a Pegasus and the Airborne Badge and is surmounted by a symbolic Dove of Peace.
This is the old rectory where in September 1944 so many wounded soldiers were treated by army medics and the local doctor with the help of local Dutch ladies.
The house is featured in the films "Theirs is the Glory" and " A Bridge Too Far" although it is said that the modest lady always maintained that that her role was glorified in the films and that her actions were being duplicated in many other houses in the area.
It was here that survivors from the 19th September 1944 savage fighting in the area gathered and were reorganised by Major Lonsdale.
In a sermon from the pulpit, Lonsdale with his hands in bandages, began his stirring speech "You know as well as I do that there are lot of bloody Germans coming at us...We must fight for our lives and stick together...We've fought Germans before - in North Africa, Sicily, Italy. They weren't good enough for us then and they're bloody well not good enough for us now"
The church then became known as "The Lonsdale Church".
The church itself is filled with British Airborne memorials and you will find the Pegasus horse everywhere, including the pulpit, the communion table, font and the alter cross, which was taken form the church back to England and then returned after the war had finished. There is also a splendid Lonsdale Force Memorial Seat.
We had a chat with one of the local guides and she made us very welcome.
The foundation stone of this monument was laid in September 1945 by General Urquhart and the memorial was unveiled by Queen Wilhemmina in September 1946 but not actually completed until September 1947.
It was funded by the people of Oosterbeek and is known locally as "the Needle".
Every year on the first weekend of September there is a remberance march, the Airborne March. Distances of 10, 15, 25 and 40 kilometres, it is an "all-age"-march.
The routes are laid out through the several villages of the municipality of Renkum in the Netherlands, along the battlefields and drop zones of the operation Market Garden of September 1944.
Start and finish are in the sports park Hartenstein (behind the Airborne Museum) at Oosterbeek.
This memorial gives recognition to the vital Air Despatchers, known as "The forgotten heroes of Arnhem"
Between 18-25 September 1944 610 dropping missions were flown with Stirling and Dakota aircraft. 84 planes were lost. 1,247 of 1,561 tons of supplies were dropped but unfortunately only 7.4% of it actually ended up reaching British troops. This was because the drop zones were now occupied by the Germans and radio communications had failed and so no news of this reached England.
The memorial was inaugurated on 18th September 1994.
Flowers in the Wind Memorial
Every year the children of the area lay flowers on the graves of the men who gave their lives for liberation.
The cemetery was set up after some debate, as Major-General Urquhart, commander of the 1st Airborne Division had requested that the site be at the Hartenstein Hotel. It was eventually decided that a nearby location would be more suitable and it was agreed.
The cemetery now contains nearly 1,700 commonwealth burials.
Airborne Museum Hartenstein
This museum, situated in General Urquhart’s (Commander of 1st British Airborne Division) headquarters in September 1944, shows the course of events during the Battle of Arnhem. Devoted to the Operation Market Garden and to the Battle of Arnhem, the museum contains a large collection of original weapons and equipment of both Allied and German origin.
Take a look at the travelogue
The neo-Gothic catholic church of St. Bernulphus lost the upper half of its tower in 1944, and no one bothered to rebuild it. This church was designed by architect Alfred Tepe, many of whose designs are quite similar anyway, so there are plenty of other places where you can admire a tower simular to the one that used to be on this church. There are two churches by this architect in Arnhem, so there you go.
Inside this church are several impressive paintings by Jan Toorop depicting the stages of the cross. The church is open on working days from 9.00 until 16.00 in case you'd like to take a look.
In Oosterbeek there are many places where the fighting was fiercer then any ever on earth. The Germans called the "perimeter" also the "heksenketel" (witches cettle) as for the constant shooting and shelling. A nice place is the Old church in the Oosterbeek "beneden-dorp". Here the wounded defended themselves until the last man, after which they were captured by the enemy.
In the former headquarters of general Urquhart, hotel Hartenstein, nowo-a-days a museum is explaining about the fierce battle that took place here and became known as the "Battle of Arnhem" or "A bridge too far". In the museum the tragedy is explaned in a perfect way and in the cellars some diorama's give you a nice impression of details in the battle.
This is a very rare opportunity to see a church ornamented with Jugendstil details. The Remonstrant church dates from 1906 and was designed by J. van Burk who used white bricks mostly, making it quite an eyecatcher.
The former town hall, a much nicer building than the one they built after the war; a huge monster that cannot be ignored, no matter how you try. OK, this old building isn't spectacular either, but it does symbolize the peace and quiet of this place a bit. In the neighbourhood are many, many more nice old houses.
One of the last positions of what was left of the British airborne division before it managed to escape over the Rhine was the old church, which as a consequence was heavily damaged. There was one positive thing about this; suddenly people discovered that the church was much older than they thought. Originally a 10th-century romanesque church, making it one of the oldest churches in the country, according to some sources even the oldest. After the war it was restored to the way it looked in the 14th century. In and around the church are several monuments commemorating the fighting and its victims. It's also a very quiet place, the right spot for the girl just visible in the picture to read a book without anyone bothering her (I left her alone, I didn't mind her in my pictures). The church is located outside the centre, the village having moved quite a bit to the north since it was built in the 11th century.