Nationaal Oorlogs- en Verzetsmuseum - Overloon - The Netherlands

Address: Museumpark 1, Overloon (See map)
Telephone: +31 (0)478-641250

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: restaurant
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2000, revisited in 2006

Overall rating:

Description: 'War belongs in a museum'. That is the motto of the National War and Resistance Museum. The people of the Overloon museum have certainly succeeded in putting war 'in it', being the 'number 1' museum when it comes to a complete overview of World War II in The Netherlands. We're also talking about one of the older (if not the oldest) museums about this subject in Europe, founded in May 1946! The museum witnessed a large expansion in 2005, when all the vehicles and tanks of the Marshall Collection in Zwijndrecht were moved to Overloon to be added to the museum's already impressive collection.

Basically, the museum can be divided into four parts, each focussing on a different aspect of the Second World War and its aftermath:

The largest hall of the museum is devoted to all the equipment and machines used during the actual fighting. It features a stunning set of life-like dioramas in which tanks, trucks, airplanes and guns are shown. The background paintings and settings used for the dioramas, really add to the atmosphere.

A second hall takes you through the history of World War Two with the aid of information panels, photographic material, videos and some small displays. It tells the complete story from start to aftermath, with special attention being given to the impact of the war in The Netherlands.

The gruesome history of the deportations and the holocaust is dealt with in the third hall. You'll not feel the same once you've toured this exhibition. It is unnerving and shocking to see in such a confronting way what went on in the concentration camps. Very impressive are the photos on display and the personal stories that can be read and heard here.

Finally, there is the outside part of the museum to explore. Here you'll come across a wide range of vehicles and defensive structures used during the war. They are as interesting as the vehicles you can see in the large hall, but lack background information and some of them are crying out for a good cleaning & patching-up session!

With such a great collection this is a museum not to be missed by both war museums-enthusiasts and other people!

Piece of field artillery placed in a trench. Note the small casemate at the back. This casemate originally stood at the westbank of the river Meuse during the German invasion of The Netherlands. It took two direct artillery hits, which killed the men inside and rendered it "kampfunfähig".

Sherman Tank cleverly equiped with a set of rotating chains at the front. With its chains spinning round the tank was used to clear minefields. When the chains hit the ground with great impact, they would explode the mines placed beneath the surface.

The "Nebelwerfer", a German rocket-launcher. The terrible shrieking noise it made when the rockets were fired struck terror into the hearts of those at the receiving end.

A Renault FT 17 (French) tank in German service. The only tank in Dutch service during the outbreak of war in May 1940 was of the same type.

Detail of the very extensive exhibition on the start, course and aftermath of the Second World War. The information panels are set up in such a way that they are interesting to read.

Exhibition about the horrors of concentration-camps and the Holocaust in general. In the front you see a monument to commemorate the victims of concentration-camps.

Part of the stunning diorama dealing with operation Market Garden (the failed Allied attempt to seize the bridges over the main Dutch rivers, providing them easy access into Germany).

Diorama showing the D-Day landings in Normandy. The "star" of this diorama has to be the DUKW you see in the background. This vehicle could move over water and on land, and was used to transport troops and material onto the French shores.

A very realistic diorama, showing mainly black lads working hard to tunnel the enormous amount of supplies for the US Army to the frontlines in France. Drivers had to steer their trucks full of goods for hours and hours on end without even having the time to take a quick leak or a minute's smoking break!

At the back you see the North American B-25 Mitchell bomber. At the front stands a small bulldozer transportable by plane, used to clear airstrips.