The Nationaal Onderduikmuseum in Aalten is dedicated to the people who needed to hide (‘onderduiken’ in Dutch) from the occupier during WW II. It shows how people in the Netherlands and in Germany experienced the war and how they reacted to the occupation in their personal life. Its main purpose is to show that World War II had an immense social and emotional influence on people. The story of the war needs to be told so visitors can understand why people made certain choices.

The location of the museum, Markt 12, just a commonplace address in the eastern part of the Netherlands, tells that story. A family, comprising father, mother and a few children, once lived here. Here, some people hid in the attic and the entire neighbourhood found shelter in the basement against bomb raids while, at the same time, the local German commander had confiscated the large living room to set up his office. All the information is captured in the interior of Markt 12.

Every room has its own theme and a matching interior after the fashion of the occupation years. However, when visitors look closer they will learn that there is a lot to discover. The chairs are decorated with pictures of certain individuals. When you sit down on one of them you’ll get to hear their story. On the radio you’ll hear the queen giving a speech. Draped in the hallway are the coats of a wide range of people. These coats tell the stories of their owners: a collaborator, a profiteer, an NSB member, someone from the resistance and someone who adapted to the German occupiers.

Educational and exciting for all ages!

Meet Jenny Kempink, Ivy Philips and ‘Ome Jan’ Wikkerink. They each have their own unique story related to their war years in Aalten:

The house Markt 12

A quick tour

The house, a listed building, is furnished to the atmosphere of the period 1940-1945. The original hiding place and shelter are both still accessible. Markt 12 shows how people in the Netherlands and Germany experienced the war years and how they reacted to the occupation in their personal life. The museum wants to avoid simple answers to a complex history. Although we focus on the stories of Aalten and the community in the border region in the period 40-45, the scope and target are wider.

The Nationaal Onderduikmuseum shows that each situation requires people to make choices, regardless of what country they come from or what faith they have. The historical aspect is updated to the present and the future.

Entrance hall
Upon entering the hall, we see it is about making...

Upon entering the hall, we see it is about making choices during the Second World War: Jews had little choice, they went into hiding, were arrested or deported. If you agreed with the Nazis, you could become a member of the NSB. Children of NSB-members could join the Youth Storm. If you chose resistance against the Germans, you had to set boundaries for yourself. Black traders tried to profit from the shortage by asking exorbitant prices.

Ortskommandantur
The inhabitants of Market 12, a family with childr...

The inhabitants of Market 12, a family with children, were forced to share their living space during the war, because the large living room was requisitioned by the Germans and used as Ortskommandantur. This space is about the bureaucratic organization and its consequences for the population. Actions of the occupying forces as well as the stories of individuals are exposed.

Upstairs room
The upstairs room tells the story of the Atlantik...

The upstairs room tells the story of the Atlantikwall, the defensive wall built by the Germans along the Atlantic ocean to prevent an invasion. For the construction of this wall, amongst others, residents of Scheveningen had to be evacuated. About 500 inhabitants of Scheveningen were housed in Aalten in that period.

Kitchen
During World War II, the kitchen was used far too...

During World War II, the kitchen was used far too little for which it was intended unfortunately. To get something to eat almost was a full-time job. There were food stamps, but you had to pay close attention if you could still use the vouchers you had. Some products were not even available anymore, substitutes were brought on the market. Elsewhere in the country the scarcity was often even greater. In the hunger winter 1944-1945 people came all the way from Haarlem to Aalten to get food.

Cellar (air raid shelter)
Beneath the house is a cellar, which served as ...

Beneath the house is a cellar, which served as an air raid shelter and where all the people from the neighborhood fled during an air raid. They hoped to be safe there. Because. being so close to the German border, many bombers flew over Aalten on their way to Germany and it sometimes happened that a bomb was released too early. So it was quite dangerous in Aalten!

Side corridor
In the side corridor the central theme is: Propag...

In the side corridor the central theme is: Propaganda. The Germans as well as the Allies and the opposition used posters and flyers to convince people of their right.

Attic
At the top, in the attic, a lot is happening. The...

At the top, in the attic, a lot is happening. There is an illegal printing house, a hiding place and there are many stories about resistance and hiding. Visitors can submit their own stories here, or those of their parents or grandparents.

Front room
Nevertheless, despite the hard times, during the...

Nevertheless, despite the hard times, during the war the lives of the residents of the house continued. This is shown in the front room. Father had to work for the Germans and the children went to school as usual, to the extent possible.

Middle room
Like the father of the family, many Dutch men had ...

Like the father of the family, many Dutch men had to work for the Germans: the Arbeitseinsatz. That is what the intermediate chamber is about. We also see how difficult it was to get electricity during the war.

Contact

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