Legermuseum - Delft - The Netherlands

Address: Korte Geer 1, Delft (See map)
Telephone: +31 (0)15-2150500
Website: http://www.legermuseum.nl

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: restaurant
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2001, revisited in 2005, 2006

Overall rating:

Description: The bloody Indonesian struggle for independence, the Korean War and the joining and eventual breaking-up of the northern and southern Netherlands, are just a few examples of 'forgotten wars' that are greatly covered in the Legermuseum (in English: "Armymuseum"). Of course also the better known conflicts like the Second World War and the battle of Waterloo are dealt with. While most museums focus on just one part of history, this 'mammoth' tries to take it all on! And with great success: if you want to know about the full history of the Dutch armed forces, and all the conflicts Dutch soldiers participated in, the Legermuseum is the place to be.

The collection of the museum incorporates a lot of large vehicles. Not only tanks and jeeps, but also horse-drawn vehicles from before the Second World War are on display. Top-pieces include a very rare light Japanese tank and a Dutch field kitchen from the 1930's (see photos below). The museum has no shortage of uniforms, small arms, cannons, flags and personal objects either. Apart from the permanent collection the museum features two large areas for temporary expositions.

Throughout the entire exhibition you'll come across stunning dioramas with a very realistic look. The Korean soldiers for example, look like they could smash their way out of their display-case and come after you any minute! Another nice feature of the museum is the way weapons, handgrenades, mines, vehicles and other machines are cut open, so that you can see the inside and figure out how they work or how cramped they are. Our only moans are that you're not allowed to use flash-photography and that a lot of items on display are only accompanied by background-information in Dutch.

The Legermuseum, located in a 17th century weapon arsenal in the historic centre of Delft, is certainly worth visiting. Be sure you've got plenty of time when you enter the museum, because you'll need it to see the entire collection!

American "Pine-apple" handgrenade sawn in half to show the inner parts. The Legermuseum features quite a lot weapons and machinery of which the visitor can view the inner workings.

Diorama of a scene during the "Tiendaagse Veldtocht", the campaign of 1831 in which forces from the northern parts of The Netherlands tried to subdue a full-scale uprising in the southern parts (present day Belgium). A portable oven is being used to heat up the cannonballs untill they were red hot, so that they would set fire to their target.

First ever machinegun used by the Dutch Army (hand-driven).

The museum has quite a lot of ancient cannons on display. Some are simply designed to maim and kill, others are real showpieces with carved wood and all sorts of decorations.

Field kitchen of the Dutch armed forces during the 1930's. This horse drawn kitchen was used by the Second Field Artillery Regiment.

Dutch B.S.A. motorcycle-combination from 1939, equipped with an air-cooled Lewis machinegun.

Great diorama of Dutch soldiers manning a 20mm Anti-Aircraft gun in the wake of the Second World War. The Dutch anti-aircraft defence had been neglected for a long time. Just before the outbreak of war this mistake was realised and in great haste and with financial aid from the civilian population, large amounts of new AA-guns were ordered.

A very unique piece in the museum's collection: A Japanese Light Tank from 1937 with an 'almost laughable' 7.7mm gun. It had a crew of only two, the gunner/commander and the driver. This particular tank had been left in the Dutch East Indies by the Japanese when they capitulated in 1945. It was then put to use by Indonesian freedom fighters in their struggle against the colonial rulers. The Dutch captured the tank in 1947 and shipped it to Holland.

The jeep of Prince Bernhard, who was commander of the Dutch armed forces that took part in the liberation of Europe during WWII. He used this jeep during his visits to Maastricht, Eindhoven and Zutphen on the days these cities were liberated.

Centurion MK5/2 Tank, in use by the Dutch army untill 1985. Allthough the Centurion had impressive fire-power (105mm gun), its big disadvantage was the limited range of action (only 50km off the road).