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Netherlands American Cemetery | Margraten | Never Forget | WWII

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Honoring History is not to Repeat it

This was one of the most moving experiences of my travel ventures.

I was in the US Air Force for six years. This experience really brought home the concepts of sacrifice, freedom, and trying to make the world a better place.

Now when I'm traveling, I will make it a priority to visit these war cemetaries to honor those who have fallen, to make life better for those who follow.

The view of thousands of grave markers brought tears to my eyes. It's so moving. Most of these heroes were only 19 or 20 years old. Just starting life.

While I honor those Americans, I also recognize the sacrifice of most soldiers on both sides, who are only following leaders whom history has led the wrong path of humans and destiny.

Please visit these memorials. Their souls cry out and will touch your heart.

Netherlands American Cemetery Brochure (pdf)

Netherlands American Cemetery

Stichting Adoptie Graven Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Margraten

The Faces of Margraten

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The Netherlands American Cemetery

The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial stands as the sole American military burial ground in the Netherlands. This site is steeped in history, situated close to the renowned Cologne-Boulogne road, originally constructed by Roman engineers. This road was historically significant, having been traversed by Julius Caesar during his military campaigns in the region. It also served as a route for notable historical figures such as Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. In May 1940, this ancient route was overtaken by the forces of World War II, marking a significant advance into the Low Countries. By September 1944, the same road witnessed the retreat of German troops who had occupied these nations for four years.

ABMC Commemorative Sites Booklet

American Battle Monuments Commission

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The Netherlands American Cemetery 1946

The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial stands as the sole American military burial ground in the Netherlands.

Operation Market Garden

Operation Varsity

The Battle of Aachen was a major battle of Second World War. It was fought by American and German forces in and around Aachen, Germany, between 2–21 October 1944. The city was part of the Siegfried Line, the main defence line on Germany's western border.

The Battle of the Huertgen Forest began in September 1944 and culminated in mid-February 1945. It lasted nearly five months and it cost the U.S. Army more than 34,000 casualties. i It has largely been forgotten for the past sixty years for several reasons.

The Battle of the Bulge

ABMC Commemorative Sites Booklet

American Battle Monuments Commission

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The Netherlands American Cemetery

The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial stands as the sole American military burial ground in the Netherlands. This site is steeped in history, situated close to the renowned Cologne-Boulogne road, originally constructed by Roman engineers. This road was historically significant, having been traversed by Julius Caesar during his military campaigns in the region. It also served as a route for notable historical figures such as Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. In May 1940, this ancient route was overtaken by the forces of World War II, marking a significant advance into the Low Countries. By September 1944, the same road witnessed the retreat of German troops who had occupied these nations for four years.

ABMC Commemorative Sites Booklet

American Battle Monuments Commission

Unknown Soldier

Unknown Soldier

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Battles

Margraten, the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. The U.S. 30th Infantry Division liberated this site on 13 September 1944 and 8301 American military rest here.

Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial

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Hours

Visiting Hours

The cemetery is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the visitor building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.

Netherlands American Cemetery

AM Begraafplaats 1

6269 NA

Margraten

Netherlands TEL: +31 43 45 81 208

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (pdf)

American Armies and Battlefields in Europe WWII

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The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands

The memorial site, spanning 65.5 acres, features a prominent tower visible from afar. As visitors enter, they are guided towards the Court of Honor, where a reflecting pool mirrors the tower. In front of the pool, a statue symbolizes the grief of women who have lost loved ones. Flanking this area are the visitor center and a map room, the latter housing three extensive maps detailing the operations of American forces. The Court is bordered by the Tablets of the Missing, inscribed with 1,722 names, some marked with rosettes to indicate those since identified.

The tower houses a chapel, adorned with a light fixture, altar candelabra, and a flower bowl, gifts from the Dutch government and regional authorities. Beyond lies a burial area with 16 sections, the final resting place for 8,288 American soldiers, marked by curved rows of headstones. A broad, tree-lined path leads to a flagstaff at the site's highest point.

A distinctive aspect of the cemetery is its bond with the Dutch community. Since 1945, local residents have adopted individual graves, regularly bringing flowers and researching the soldiers' lives as a tribute. The Foundation for Adopting Graves at the American Cemetery Margraten oversees this tradition. Similarly, the Foundation United Adopters American War Graves runs "The Faces of Margraten" project, gathering photos of the fallen for display during a bi-annual event coinciding with Dutch Memorial Day. This exhibit, featuring over 3,000 photographs next to headstones and the Walls of the Missing, offers a poignant connection for visitors to those who liberated them.

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Cologne-Boulogne Highway

The cemetery site has a rich historical background, lying near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway built by the Romans and used by Caesar during his campaign in that area.

The highway was also used by Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon, and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

In May 1940 Hitler's legions advanced over the route of the old Roman highway, overwhelming the Low Countries. In September 1944, German troops once more used the highway for their withdrawal from the countries occupied for four years.

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How to Get There

Take the 350 bus from Maastricht or Achen to the bus stop at Margraten.

GPS Coordinates: 50 Deg 49 16 N , 5 Deg 48 13 E

Netherlands American Cemetery lies in the village of Margraten, six miles east of Maastricht.

Local bus service is on the Maastricht-Vaals line #350. The bus stops in front of the cemetery on the main road N278. During cemetery operating hours, the bus stops at the cemetery every 20 minutes. If traveling from Maastricht, you can catch this bus directly at the train station or any number of its stops along the way. If traveling from Aachen, catch the Aachen-Vaals line, and then transfer to the #350 in Vaals or Gulpen. (Vaals is in the Netherlands, on the German-Dutch border).

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How to Get there by Car

The cemetery is on the main road N278, which runs between Maastricht and Vaals on the German-Dutch border. (After crossing the border, you immediately enter the outskirts of Aachen, where the road designation is the B1). From Brussels take the major highway E40 in the direction of Liège (Luik). Just after crossing the Meuse (Maas) river on the out-skirts of Liège, take the E25/A2 highway in the direction of Visé and Maastricht. After crossing the Belgian-Dutch border, continue on the E25/A2 into Maastricht. Take the exit off the highway marked “Wijken 26/27 Cadier en Keer and Vaals” This exit will put you on the N278 heading towards the cemetery. After passing through the village of Cadier en Keer, the cemetery is approx two miles on the right. From Germany/Aachen, take the E40 highway in the direction of Liège and then follow the directions as above. From Amsterdam take the A2 south all the way to Maastricht, and then follow the N278 to the cemetery.

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Directions

Travel via Train

There is a connection from the Brussels airport to Brussels then to Liège then onto the Maastricht central train station. Travelers arriving in Germany and looking for train transport should travel through Aachen and then follow on to Maastricht (or take a bus as seen below). Amsterdam arrivals can get a train direct to Maastricht. Take local bus #350 on the Maastricht-Vaals line from the train station to the cemetery. The bus stops in front of the cemetery on the main road N278.

Travel via Airplane

Amsterdam is approximately 155 miles from the cemetery. Brussels is approximately 80 miles. Düsseldorf is approximately 80 miles. And Cologne is approximately 70 miles.

Travel via Public Transportation

Local bus service is on the Maastricht-Vaals line #350. The bus stops in front of the cemetery on the main road N278. During cemetery operating hours, the bus stops at the cemetery every 20 minutes. If traveling from Maastricht, you can catch this bus directly at the train station or any number of its stops along the way. If traveling from Aachen, catch the Aachen-Vaals line, and then transfer to the #350 in Vaals or Gulpen. (Vaals is in the Netherlands, on the German-Dutch border).

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