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The Memorial Park Canada-Netherlands


This park was designed in remembrance of the Canadians that fought to liberate the Netherlands in the years 1940 - 1945. This living monument serves for silent meditation, prayer and gratitude and should remind us all that the voice of freedom must never again be silenced. The park was opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet, 5 May 1998.

A living monument

After the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945 the Canadians practically became the symbol of our liberators. Canadian forces also played a major role in liberating our country. Memorials in many Dutch towns and villages play silent witness to them. Over the years, a special bond has developed between the Canadian veterans, their families and many Dutch people. In the 50th anniversary year of the end of the Second World War (1995) some of those veterans, members of the Canadian Army Corps, came up with an idea to offer the Dutch community something special in remembrance of the Canadians that helped to liberate the country in 1945, but above all as thanks for the always warm welcome in the years thereafter.
The Canadian veterans wanted a living monument, preferably in the form of a large forest with Canadian Maples. The idea was picked up by the Ministry for Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Fisheries with the support of Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet, and was ultimately realised through the efforts of a number of young employees of that ministry and the Canadian veterans. In a country where – in contrast to Canada – space is scarce, a small but quite special park was finally created on a most beautiful location.  
 

Groesbeek at the interface of past, present and future

The Groesbeek landscape lies peacefully amongst rolling hills, woodland and panoramic views. In the midst of this lovely landscape, a number of locations are a reminder of the brutality of war that unfolded here. The contrast gives cause for reflection. The view to the past remains, but beyond that an atmosphere of freedom and confidence in the future prevails in the panorama. The view from the park extends over the surrounding countryside to the Canadian War Cemetery in the distance. Most of the over 2.300 Canadian soldiers lying there were killed during Operation Veritable in February 1945, one of the last great offensives of the Second World War. Next to the park is the 1944 -1945 National Liberation Museum. Cemetery, museum and park are one with the landscape, a meeting of past, present and future.

An exceptional design for an exceptional place

The design of the park is simple and suits its special surroundings. A mixed hedge of field maple, hawthorn, spindle tree and dog rose forms a varied border enclosing the park.
A hedge is a traditional means of separating plots of farming land. Two different areas have been created within the park: a sheltered and an open area. This reflects the surrounding landscape: woodland on the slopes surrounded by open countryside. The maple grove forms a shelter at the top of the slope. At the bottom of the hill there is an open meadow covered with flowers.

The main entrance to the park is on the Wylerbaan. The straight lines of the hedges lead up the slope. These hedges are formal, straight yew hedges unlike those at the park's perimeter.

Coming to the top of the hill, the terraces, sheltered by the canopy of maples, open up to reveal views on two sides. This view is an essential element of the  park. The grove of trees is kept open to always maintain the contact with the surroundings. This is a place where one can relax and enjoy the landscape in peace. The circular walk returns past the wild flower meadow along the border of the two areas, providing shelter and openness.

Patrons

Her Royal Highness, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, sister to the Queen. 
His Excellency, Romeo LeBlanc, Governor-General of Canada.

Made possible by a group of Canadian veterans, the Ministry for Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Fisheries, together with businesses in both countries.

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Please support us in keeping the liberation message alive.

The Liberation Museum receives almost no grants and is kept operational by a few paid staff members and more than 100 volunteers. All financial support is very welcome!

Please send your donations to:
IBAN: NL14RABO0117428876
BIC/SWIFT: RABONL2U
Made payable to: The Liberation Museum, Groesbeek, The Netherlands

Thank you for your donation!