Verzetsmuseum - Amsterdam - The Netherlands

Address: Plantage Kerklaan 61, Amsterdam (See map)
Telephone: +31 (0)20-6202535

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: not available
Size of the museum/site: medium
Year of visit: 2003
Overall rating:

Description: Although the completion of the German invasion of The Netherlands was a matter of a few days, the population of this country had to undergo five long and heavy years of nazi-occupation. During this awful period a lot of people tried to survive by 'just' carrying on the best they could without active resistance nor active collaboration. Some people joined pro-German organisations like the NSB ("Nationaal Socialistische Beweging") out of conviction or simply because they thought that it would ensure a better life for them, as it seemed the Germans were here to stay for a very long time. And then there were some who bravely put their lives at risk and fought the oppressor by taking up arms, distributing underground newspapers, hiding fugitives or performing other actions which hindered the enemy and made their stay in The Netherlands 'less comfortable' than they'd hoped for.

The Verzetsmuseum deals with all three groups of people, showing the difficulties of 'normal' life during the occupation, the rise and fall of the NSB party & the fate of the collaborators, and the risky activities members of the resistance were involved in.

The routing and arrangement of the exhibits is done very well, although perhaps there could have been a few more (large) dioramas dealing with resistance activities. In our opinion a little more attention should've been given to specific events happening at locations all over the country during the dark occupation-period.

A visit to the Verzetsmuseum, which is located to the south-east of the city centre close to the "Nieuwe Herengracht", could form a nice part of anyone's trip to Amsterdam.

Poster used by the Communist Party during pre-war Dutch elections. As in most other West-European countries at the time, new extreme left and right parties were sprouting. Contrary to Germany and Italy, Dutch extremist parties never succeeded in getting a majority of the votes.

Dutch newspaper declaring the surrender of the national army after 5 days of fighting against the nazi juggernaut. It was the ruthless bombing of the city of Rotterdam that forced the still fighting Dutch army to give in.

Posters and sights one would encounter during the occupation of The Netherlands.

Food-coupons distributed during the occupation. The Germans used this to force people in hiding to give themselves up (the logic behind it being that people without food would give in sooner or later. By raiding coupon-distributioncentres Dutch resistance tried to counter this strategy).

German propaganda poster trying to set up the Dutch population against the British, by referring to the historic wars between The Netherlands and England over the command of the oceans.

Exhibits dealing with the "februari staking" (the February strike: a massive strike launched after the first razzias - the massive round-ups of Jews) and the "honger winter" (the hunger-winter, which struck the western part of The Netherlands during the winter of 1944/45, when there was an accute food-shortage in the German-controlled parts of The Netherlands).

Typical wall during the occupation-period boasting German notifications and Dutch resistance slogans at the same time.

Baby-carriage with a false bottom used to transport weapons and ammo by the Dutch resistance.

Illegal printing-office used by the Dutch resistance to print newspapers and pamphlets.

One of the leading underground newspapers that appeared on a regular basis between 1940 and 1945, giving civilians reliable news of the events happening during the war.