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!