During the Second World War Grand Hotel de Draak was the command post of the Germans during the occupation. The previous owner of the hotel (Mr. Oirbans) was heavily embedded in the Dutch resistance and smuggled Jews and other refugees in the Lion’s den; Hotel de Draak. A secret compartment in the double ceiling was used to hide the refugees before they were send to France or England. Literally in the Lion’s den since the Germans were sitting in the room below this hidden compartment of the hotel. Mr. Oirbans got a Royal recognition after the war for his deeds in the Dutch resistance.
Crossroads Brabant ’40 -’45 collects, saves and discloses personal stories about the Second World War: large or small, about the mobilization, the resistance, collaboration or employment. “Stories in which a life-changing choice often takes center stage”. Seventy-five stories – for each year living in freedom one – are actively retold by literally marking them in the Brabant landscape.
During the Second World War, the life paths of people from home and abroad crossed each other and their lives changed forever. Brabant Remembers wants to collect and tell these special and inspiring stories in order to connect both then and now, places and people.
Liberation Route Europe is a continuously growing, international remembrance trail, connecting important milestones of modern European history. Liberation Route Europe links the main regions along the advance of the Western Allied Forces.
By Paul Versijp, thanks to Piet Hoedelmans and Liberation Museum Zeeland. In 2014, attention is paid to our region of “70 years Liberation”, combined with the 70th anniversary battle of the Scheldt. The program “70 years liberation” was developed in close cooperation between the Brabant Wal municipalities (Bergen op Zoom, Steenbergen and Woensdrecht), the Province Zeeland, institutions and individuals in the Brabant Wal and in Zeeland and Canadian partners.
One of the objectives of the program is the battle of the Scheld, is to get better known to a wider audience. Because we have to conclude that the vast majority of the Dutch population has never heard of this battle. Even in our own region this battle for many people is not known. That in itself is remarkable, because it is the largest and most prolonged battle which was held on Dutch soil during World War II.
In May 1940, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and occupied the country. With the start of the liberation in 1944, the Netherlands became of strategic importance in Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Scheldt. This is still tangible today in the various museums of the province of North Brabant and Zeeland, below a selection.
The ‘Canadian and British War Cemetery’ in Bergen op Zoom (Bergen op Zoom) houses the graves of 1119 soldiers, including 968 Canadians. The entrance to the cemetery is formed by two brick pillars with the entrance in between and a low wall in the middle. Behind this wall is a low metal fence with gate that gives access to an extensive lawn.
In the Second World War, inaccessibility ensured that the German occupiers could not control the Biesbosch. De Biesbosch was therefore an ideal hiding place during the Second World War. In the last year of the war even groups of German soldiers were made prisoners of war and kept hidden.
The Wings of Liberation Museum tells the compelling story of the liberation of the southern Netherlands at the end of World War II. The museum is situated in the area where, on 17 September 1944, airborne operations as part of Operation Market Garden marked the beginning of the liberation of the southern Netherlands.
Camp Vught National Memorial (Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught ) is located on part of the former SS camp Konzentrationslager Herzogenbusch, also known as Camp Vught (January 1943 – September 1944). The combined memorial centre and museum features various exhibitions, a memorial room and wall of reflection.
In War Museum Overloon, stop at the Second World War, the resistance, D-Day and the liberation. The museum was literally built on the battlefield in 1946. Discover everything about the origin, the course and the consequences of the Second World War.
The Zeeland Liberation Museum shows the eventful history of Zeeland during World War II. The museum pays special attention to the ‘Battle of the Scheldt’.
We have put together three packages to commemorate the Second World War. So you can visit the various museums and places of interest at your pace and enjoy a dinner in our restaurant. You visit these various sights with Grand Hotel de Draak as your base to travel from with your own transportation. Rate is excluding city tax and dinner is on the day of arrival (our restaurant is closed on Sunday).