The Rhine & Mosel River Cruise travel blog

Nijmegen bridge over the River Waal. It was an important natural barrier...

The new Freedom Museum near Nijmegen.

Individual German soldier protection in case of attack.

Weapon used at Nijmegen during WWII.

Memorial to an Allied soldier.

Rifle used in WWII.

More weaponry from WWII.

Street sign name change from Hitler to Roosevelt.

Freedom aprons.

Nijmegen was flattened by both German and Allied bombing. This may be...

Nijmegen is pronounced just like it is spelled if there was no'j'.

It is the oldest city in the Netherlands, over 2000 years in existence.

In 1940, the Netherlands was invaded by Germany with Nijmegen being the first Dutch city to fall into German hands. On 22 Feb 1944, it was heavily bombed by American planes, causing great damage to the city center. It was ruled an accidental bombing caused by poor communications and chaos in the airspace. The Germans tried to use the accident to turn the Dutch people against the Allies but it didn't work.

During Sep 1944, the city saw heavy fighting during Operation Market Garden. The objective in Nijmegen was mainly to prevent the Germans from destroying the bridges. Capturing the road bridge would allow the British Army to attempt to reach their fellow soldiers in Arnhem where they could move on to Germany. The bridge was heavily defended by the Germans. Eventually, Nijmegen was liberated from German occupation by the British as well as elements of the American 82nd Airborne Division. The city would later be used as a springboard for Operation Veritable, the invasion of Germany across the Rhine River by Allied Troops and the conclusion of WWII.

We visited the Freedom Museum, as they call it in Nijmegen. Very well done; with the whole story of World War II in the Nijmegen area. Very interesting. Very touching with personal stories. This area celebrates their freedom every 5 years. This year was the 75th celebration of their liberation. They often get veterans from the US, Canada and Britain to attend. One 96 year old man had never been back because he wasn't sure of the reception he would receive. He had been involved in the mistaken bombing of the city center. But when he finally came, he received a cheering reception. The local people still appreciate the Allies for liberating them. There are monuments in the fields, along the streets; and Allied cemeteries throughout the area. They even thanked us as we toured the museum!

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