In 1944, the 101st Airborne Division, called Screaming Eagles, landed North of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. As part of the Operation Market Garden, this was the start of liberation of the Netherlands from the German occupation. Close to the place where thousands of US-American soldiers (para troupers or in gliders) landed is nowadays a museum, which keeps the memory of this remarkable mission. The museum is called Wings of Liberation in English, the original Dutch name is Museum Bevrijdende Vleugels.
Wings of Liberation – Location & Admission
Wings of Liberation is located in an area called Historia Park, which looks like a former military site. It is located in a countryside area North of Eindhoven. If you come by car, there is very good traffic by the A50 and the A2 motorway. There is also a bus stop in front of Historia Park (called Museum Bevrijdende Vleugels) – but I could not figure out how frequently it is servicing the location. The area also features a beautiful restaurant and a toy museum – which I unfortunately could not spot during my visit there. Some outdoor exhibits also belong to the museum, including a version of the famous portable Bailey Bridge.
In summer, the museum is opening from 10:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Sunday. The winter opening times are very limited, Friday 12:00 to 17:00 and 11:00 to 17:00 on the weekend. Adult admission was 9 Euro.
Wings of Liberation – The Visit
The exhibition is majorly documented in Dutch. However, the staff is very friendly and they give you an English translation if you do not speak the local language. In general, you can get around with speaking English or German as well – the languages are quite related. The exhibition starts with the very beginning of the Nazi regime in the Netherlands. Before you enter the military exhibition, you also learn about how the German invaders changed life in the country after the Netherlands capitulated more or less without a fight against the superior neighbor. The exhibition also includes the installation of concentration camps like Camp Vught and the transit camp Westerborg.
The next building already introduces you to Operation Market Garden. Roughly, the walls of this room introduce you to the military strategy, troop movements etc., while vehicles and similar displays are rather in the center of this exhibition room. There is a lot of detail and information. I really enjoyed it (even though I am not too much into military topics).
Even some original planes in display
As the following room (majorly dealing with the Operation Berlin) featured aviation exhibits, it has somehow been my favorite place during my visit. The key exhibit is the C-47 Dakota, the military version of the Douglas DC-3. There is also a Spitfire plane, another accessible plane cockpit and a couple of other vehicles.
At the end of that room, there is a place honoring the Screaming Eagles division. Thereafter, you head to a lot of military memorabilia and other exhibitions, which also show how the invasion changed life during WWII in the Netherlands. As you see in the pictures, there are in general not just allied troop objects, but also items from the German military.
In order to reach the last exhibition room, you head outside where some tanks and similar objects are presented. The last room also shows some critical aspects, like plundering by the allied division in the Netherlands. You can also see one of the most famous German weapons of that time, the V-1, including the rocket launcher.
Wings of Liberation – Services
Close to the entrance, the museum is featuring a souvenir shop, which is majorly selling historic information literature and military memorabilia.
Wings of Liberation – My View
Wings of Liberation is indeed a really well-driven, interesting museum telling one of the many stories around WWII. I like the massive number of exhibits they gathered. However, the most I appreciate that they try to create a full picture of the situation, including how the Germans changed life in the Netherlands. The location is a bit of remote – but if you are around, I definitely recommend to stop by.