Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Airborne Museum 'Hartenstein'

This summer whilst on holiday in Europe, having left Trier we headed to Amsterdam, but on the way decided to stop near a town called Arnhem...

We (myself and my significant other) decided to visit the Airborne Museum (actually in Oosterbeek!) there, which is in the hotel which served as Urquhart's HQ during operation market garden.

The first thing you notice when we took the turning to Arnhem was how much September 1944 had left it's impression! We were there in July but already there were signs about events in September to commemorate it, and a rather imposing memorial.

We parked up the car and had a stroll around to begin with, in the grounds were some 6 and 17 pounders as well as a Sherman, and some walks you could take with names like lion, leopard etc.

The museum itself was a really moving experience, you started off with a briefing about the events and plans for market garden, before moving onto exhibitions where there were artifacts from the soldiers and civilians in the local area, as well as interviews with the people who had fought or lived through those days.

Personally there were a few of those interviews where I found myself quite emotional, and watching recordings if meetings between the old adversaries, whilst listening with my German girlfriend really made me realise how far Europe has come in 70 years.

It was also the humanising stories, fighting for friends and comrades, not for Germany or Hitler.

After the artifacts there was a walk through about being part of the Airlanding forces, the sounds you would have experienced, and then exhibitions on the contemporary media and the other roles the museum had.

We spent maybe three hours there before we had to leave for Amsterdam, but I'd recommend this to anyone it was unique, interesting and moving. 

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