New Audio Spots inaugurated on the Liberation Route Europe Along the Wadden Sea Coast

New audio spots, part of Liberation Route Europe’s international remembrance route, have been inaugurated thanks to the collaboration between the LRE Foundation and its valued member, Visit Wadden. With this new addition, the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and North-Holland are now officially affiliated with the Liberation Route Europe.

The new audio spots are located along the Atlantic Wall and will tell the stories of these locations in World War II. The audios are available in three languages (Dutch, English and German) and join a family of more than 200 stories to be heard across several Dutch provinces. These audio spots, created at the initiative of the Wadden Fund project Atlantikwall Center, enlarge the Liberation Route Europe network in Northern Netherlands by adding the Wadden Sea Coast region.

A close collaboration with local actors from Northern Netherlands
Thanks to this collaboration, Liberation Route Europe is a step closer to reaching its aim – gather all unique locations related to the memory of the final years of World War II. In particular, the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland constitute a special route that the Canadian troops followed when liberating the Netherlands. The LRE Foundation works closely with the three regions to officially open the northern section of the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails, the “Canadian Trail”, by mid-2022.

Joël Stoppels, founder and guide of Battlefield Tours and Project Manager at the LRE Foundation, will present a series of live streams to introduce the new Atlantic Wall locations and audio spots in collaboration with local experts. This series of live tours will start with the Fiemel Battery in Groningen, where the last battles of WWII in the Netherlands took place. The live streams will be accessible on the Visit Wadden Facebook page.

Agenda:

14 April 2021, 8:00 – 8:20 pm: Fiemel Battery

21 April 2021, 8:00 – 8:20 pm: Casemate Museum

28 April 2021, 8:00 – 8:20 pm: Atlantikwall Center

12 May 2021, 8:00 – 8:20 pm: Bunkermuseum Schlei

LRE Forum 2021

The LRE Forum 2021 was held on 9-10-11 February 2021, for the very first time in an online form to make it a safe and accessible event for everyone. The LRE Foundation annual event was composed by the LRE Members Webinar, the LREXPO and the LRE Conference, and was streamed from a studio close to the famous John Frost Bridge in Arnhem, the Dutch city central to the Operation Market Garden. “Building the future of commemorations together” was the fil rouge of the event and the key topic for reflection. We are beyond grateful for the heartfelt participation of our members, partners and general public. Even if we would have preferred to meet everyone in person, we are happy that the digital format made us reach a wider audience with attendees from all over Europe, the US and Canada.

We would like to hear your thoughts and suggestions. If you attended at least one of the three events — Members Webinar, LREXPO, LRE Conference — please take a moment to fill in this survey. Your feedback will help us improve our future events! 

The LRE Forum 2021 opened its digital doors on 9 February with an event dedicated to the members of the LRE Foundation. In one hour and half, our Managing Director, Rémi Praud, and our Deputy Managing Director, Jurriaan de Mol, took the members through the latest projects and developments of the LRE Foundation.

We talked about the new governance structure and proudly presented the new chairman, former Dutch diplomat Ed Kronenburg. Then we introduced the new name of the Foundation — LRE Foundation — and the refreshed visual identity for both the foundation itself and the Liberation Route Europe initiative. Afterwards, Chance Williams and Joël Stoppels gave an update about the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails and Europe Remembers respectively. Moreover, the Members Webinar was enriched by the contributions of Lisette Mattaar, Director of vfonds, and Ingrid Jung, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in The Netherlands, who talked about the reasons behind their support to our foundation. Finally, we shifted the focus on our members, first by introducing the latest additions to our network — Municipality of Rheden (NL), Museum Federation Friesland (NL), National Institute ‘Ferruccio Parri’ (IT), Municipality of Torgau (DE) — and then giving the floor to three members that shared some exciting project news with the broader LRE network. With Mathieu Billa, Director of the Bastogne War Museum, Andrew Whitmarsh, Curator of the D-Day Story Portsmouth, and Carlo Puddu, Director of LRE Italy, we closed our first day of the LRE Forum 2021 and gave everyone appointment to the next day for the LREXPO.

The Forum 2021 continued on 10 February with the annual travel trade event, the LREXPO. A large number of professionals from the international travel trade industry had the chance to network with members and partners of the LRE Foundation. Before the one-on-one meetings started, the attendees followed a workshop on the future of remembrance travel with Jurriaan de Mol, Paul Reed, Ronnie Weijers, Joost Rosendaal, and Miguel Gallego. The speakers shared their experiences and perspectives on the current status and future of remembrance tourism.

On 11 February, the final event of the LRE Forum open to members, partners and to everyone interested in WWII history and remembrance took place. The LRE Conference was a great occasion to reflect on the challenges, opportunities and future trends pertaining to WWII heritage together with industry experts, scholars, and international students. 

Host Anouk Susan led the debates and the interactions with the audience that warmly engaged in the discussion. In the first panel discussion, with Linda Hervieux, Sebastiaan Vonk and Prof. Lucy Noakes, the speakers reflected on how WWII historical research and narrative can become more inclusive and tackle the present inequalities and discrimination towards minorities. Later on, the topic shifted to a different challenge that we are globally called to face: climate change. Nathalie Worthington, director of Juno Beach Centre, provided the audience with a great best practice the Juno Beach Centre is one of the first museums to have articulated a strategy to reduce its carbon footprint, as in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030. In a second panel discussion with a specific focus on the link between sustainability and tourism, Massimo Turchi, Jan Engler, Jos Vranken, Jeroen Drabbe, and Rémi Praud brought their experience in a lively and insightful discussion. 

In the second part of the LRE Conference, we reflected on the legacy we would like to leave to the future generations and the best ways to transmit WWII history and stories. In this segment of the event entitled Can remembrance be fun? – Strategies for Youth Engagement, Lisette Mattaar, Peter van ‘t Hoog and Michael Dodds shared their ideas and reflections regarding the fine line dividing entertainment and education, and explained some of the initiatives organised in the Netherlands and in Normandy to engage with a younger audience. The words of the British veteran Mervyn Kersh, who talked about the kind of legacy he would like to leave behind, closed the section on an emotional note. 

Throughout the Conference, Joël Stoppels took us on a tour of Gelderland. First, he visited the Freedom Museum in Groesbeek, where he interviewed the director, Wiel Lenders. Then he met the mayor of Nijmegen, Hubert Bruls, and eventually joined the Sunset March initiator, Tim Ruijling. The LRE Conference 2021 wrapped up with the words of Managing Director Rémi Praud and the view of a breath-taking sunset over the river Waal. 

LRE Foundation establishes the LRE United Kingdom

The LRE Foundation continues to grow and it is with great excitement that we announce the creation of our national branch in the United Kingdom, the LRE UK!

The LRE Foundation is an international organisation behind various remembrance projects such as Liberation Route Europe – the certified Cultural Route following in the footsteps of the Allied advance in WWII – and Europe Remembers – the online portal for remembrance events and sites throughout Europe. By establishing LRE UK, the foundation intends to extend its network, and connect and promote the main sites of the WWII British history and heritage by including them in the Liberation Route Europe trails network.

Historian and battlefield guide, Ben Mayne has been appointed as director of the LRE UK and will help the LRE Foundation on setting up new projects in the country. Rémi Praud, managing director of the LRE Foundation, about this new step forward: “We are happy with the development of this new national branch. It is a great way to improve our work in the UK and to extend our activities. We thank Ben and those who supported this launch and we are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation with our members and new partners in the UK”.

The LRE UK’s main ambition is to develop the Liberation Route UK, a network of British remembrance trails that will link to the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails, an international route connecting sites that commemorate the British and Allies advance to liberate Europe in WWII. The Hampshire county and the city of Portsmouth will serve as a starting base, given their incredible role during the preparation and execution of the D-Day.

With this network of trails, the LRE UK will work to highlight a vast British cultural landscape that, for the most part, has remained hidden in the past 75 years. In collaboration with the LRE Foundation’s partners, in the country and abroad, the LRE UK will strive to make this core part of British history more visible and accessible to visitors from across the world.

Ben Mayne, director of the LRE UK: “It is with great honour that I have accepted the responsibility to create the LRE UK. As an historian and battlefield guide, I know the importance of creating a lasting legacy for the younger generations and prompting the history and heritage that surround us. LRE UK will look to work alongside councils, tourism boards, schools, forestry commissions and museums to develop further the Liberation Route UK trails network. As seen when developing the LRE Italy branch back in 2014, this initial phase will require time, efforts and funding. We hope that the National Lottery Heritage Fund will provide us with the support we need to develop this project further.

The national branch is off to a successful start since it will have four extraordinary ambassadors to support its development. Alan King, Mervyn Kersh, and Reg Charles, British veterans who took part in the D-Day and the liberation of continental Europe, together with Andrew Wright, son of the late Fred Wright, Royal Engineers, will form a committee that will provide the LRE UK’s network with suggestions and recommendations. This is the start of a long road, through which the LRE UK aims to promote the history and heritage of WWII and transmit the lasting legacy of the veterans.

LRE Foundation establishes the LRE United Kingdom –Press release (PDF)

LRE Foundation welcomes new chairman Mr. Ed Kronenburg

4 February 2021 – As 2020 marked the final year of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, the LRE Foundation is already looking towards the future and the 80th anniversary on the horizon. Mr. Ed Kronenburg will join our mission as the new chairman of the Foundation’s Supervisory Board. He has been appointed in the context of reorganization of the Foundation’s governance and board, towards a more international scope of action (further information about the composition of the board can be found here).

Ed Kronenburg has a distinguished career as a leading diplomat for the Netherlands. He was the Dutch Ambassador to Paris and Beijing and served as the Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has also held top positions at international organisations such as the OECD, the European Commission, and NATO. He also served as Grand Master of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix. He has since retired from the diplomatic corps, and is currently a columnist, public speaker, member of the Advisory Council on International Affairs, and board member of other organisations.

Ed Kronenburg about his new role: “It is an honor to be associated with the LRE Foundation and especially the Liberation Route Europe initiative. The activities it undertakes and it promotes are of great historical and cultural value for all generations, bringing together young and old from various countries to convey the all-important lesson that history has taught us: the road to the future can and should only be travelled together, in harmony and peace, to confront the challenges we collectively face.”

Rémi Praud, Managing Director LRE Foundation about this appointment: “We are honored and delighted to welcome Mr. Ed Kronenburg as our new chairman. The international experience and expertise he has built up in many areas over the years will be highly valuable to the LRE Foundation’s future. It is a reunion of sorts, as he was closely involved in the organisation of the official international launch of the Liberation Route Europe, in Normandy, in June 2014, as the Dutch Ambassador to France.”

Together with its members and partners in twelve countries, the LRE Foundation is dedicated to preserving and valorising the tangible and intangible cultural heritage related to World War II, its memory and meaning. Two key LREF initiatives are Europe Remembers – the platform for remembrance events and travel throughout Europe – and the development of the Liberation Route Europe, the certified Cultural Route following in the footsteps of the Allied advance at the end of WWII.

New name, same mission for the LRE Foundation

On 27 January 2021, the Liberation Route Europe Foundation became LRE Foundation. Along with the new name comes a new visual identity that better represents the core missions of our growing organisation – an inclusive network that connects people and organisations dedicated to preserving and valorising the tangible and intangible cultural heritage related to World War II, its memory and meaning.

In just a few years, the LRE Foundation has gained members in ten European countries and became full-fledged international organisation. Together with our partners, we aim to preserve and to valorise the memory, meaning, and heritage of WWII – making it relevant and accessible to everyone.

The LRE Foundation is the initiator of exciting projects such as Liberation Route Europe and Europe Remembers.

pdf icon Press release – LRE Foundation new name and visual identity

 

EFFORTS, the European Federation of Fortified Sites and Defence Lines, teams up with LRE Foundation

In the week leading up to the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on 22 January, EFFORTS – the European Federation of Fortified Sites and Defence Lines, including its associate member FORTE CULTURA e.V., signed, with the LRE Foundation,  a Memorandum of Understanding, establishing the EFFORTS/ FORTE CULTURA e.V. – LRE cooperation in the remembrance of WWII detention and concentration camps in fortified heritage sites in Europe. 

Rémi Praud, managing director LRE Foundation, said this about the cooperation: “Historical military structures, baring precious testimony to the collective memory, represent  
a unique expression of Europe’s difficult heritage. Fortified heritage sites embrace Europe’s shared memory and war victims remembrance actions. The presently established cooperation gives us the opportunity to strengthen WWII intercultural and international dialogue and reconciliation, the goal of the Liberation Route Europe Foundation. The 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp therefore is a moment to reflect on the past and look towards the future.”

In addition, Dr. Frank Petter, EFFORTS president and mayor of Gemeente Bergen op Zoom, commented: “WW II remembrance has become increasingly important with the passing of the last living witnesses and the need of educating Europe’s youth on WWII, its suffering and the liberation effort to free Europe from oppression. In Gemeente Bergen op Zoom, as in dozens of European cities and remembrance sites, we must keep the memory alive and I am happy that together with LRE can work together on this in the future”.

Both organisations will present to their members the possibilities of cooperation within the EFFORTS and LRE networks. As a first action, a joint conference will be organised in the fall of 2021, uniting EFFORTS and Forte Cultura, together with LRE members and other invited sites, and setting a stage for further cooperation and holocaust and war memory actions. 

Liberation Route Europe put into light by the Council of Europe in an international exhibition in Luxembourg

 The Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in Luxembourg is an exhibition organised by Luxembourg – one of the founding Council of Europe member States of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA).  

The exhibition, recognising and promoting Liberation Route Europe, is available for view between 17th September and 17th November 2020, at Hall du Funiculaire, Middle Station, Pfaffenthal (Luxembourg). The exhibition is organised by the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR), with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg National Railway Company (CFL).  

The European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR) is the technical agency created in 1998 under an agreement between the Council of Europe and the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, located in the Abbey of Neumünster in Luxembourg.  

The LRE has been distinguished for combining historical content with a multiperspectival approach, remembrance tourism and memory transmission tools at European level. 

 For more information about the exhibition please visit: 

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cultural-routes/-/luxembourg-exhibition-on-the-cultural-routes-of-the-council-of-europe  

For more information regarding LRE as an official Cultural Route of the Council of Europe: 

https://www.coe.int/en/web/cultural-routes/liberation-route-europe  

The Liberation Route Europe Foundation receives grant from the German Federal Government

The Liberation Route Europe Foundation (LREF) has recently received a grant from the German Federal Government, following a decision of the German Bundestag in November 2019. The signature took place on Friday 28 August at the German Embassy in The Hague, the Netherlands, at the presence of the Deputy Head of Mission, Ingrid Jung and LREF Deputy Director, Jurriaan de Mol. 

The German Federal Government has granted its support to LREF for the creation of the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails. The allocated funds will be used for the development of the LRE’s hiking trails, a unique was to experience remembrance sites and to learn about the local stories that promotes meaningful, sustainable tourismFor the new project, LREF is reimagining our digital environment, starting from a new website and web app; both will provide itinerary suggestions, trails and a route planner with hundreds of high-quality stories and historical content. 

“We are very happy and proud of receiving substantial financial support from the German Federal Government,” LREF Managing Director Rémi Praud said, “Germany is taking the lead in the development of the Liberation Route Europe hiking trails with a very symbolic decision. We hope that more countries will follow the German example in the future”. 

LRE Forum 2020 in Brussels

Liberation Route Europe’s annual event, the LRE Forum, was held in Brussels on February 4 and 5.

If you attended the LRE Forum, Conference and/or Gala, please give us your feedback and answer this short survey

If you attended the LREXPO specifically, please give us your feedback and answer this separate short survey

The LRE Forum opened its doors and welcomed visitors and guests on February 4th, 2020 in the Royal Army Museum (War Heritage Institute). This year’s LRE Conference entailed a motivating speech, Building Memory, by our keynote speaker Daniel Libeskind, world-famous architect and designer of the Vectors of Memory of the Liberation Route hiking trail. In his speech, he highlighted his personal commitment to evoke cultural memory in buildings. Moreover, his enlightening words about his own architecture creations, blending the historical past and his own values, gave the audience the opportunity to connect memory, history and culture.

Members and partners also joined two workshops on Europe Remembers and on the International Hiking Trail project. The Conference went on with a warm participation of the audience and the help of an interactive system that allowed the attendees to ask and answer questions, turning them into active participants. The LRE’s panel, composed of Prof. Frank van Vree, Prof. Rafal Wnuk and Prof. Mischa Gabowitsch, entailed a discussion about Remembering World War II across Europe: the narrative and cultural gaps. Later on, Prof. Oliver Wieviorka and MEP Andrius Kubilius were part of an interesting discussion entitled Can the EU shape memory?, which triggered a lively debate.

In the evening, guests and the LRE team had the pleasure to attend the LRE Gala in the Egmont Palace, where new LRE members were welcomed. The delicious food complemented inspiring speeches by Robert Croll (Chairman of vfonds), Lisette Mattaar (Director of the vfonds) and Ambassador Zoltan Taubner (Director of External Relations and Head of the Liaison Office with the EU in Brussels, Council of Europe), who awarded the certification of Cultural Route of the Council of Europe to Liberation Route Europe.

The LRE Forum, in partnership with History and Fletcher Hotels, continued on February 5th with the LREXPO; it offered WWII sites, museums and destinations representatives the opportunity to network with tourism stakeholders for an entire day with scheduled appointments. Visitors also joined two different workshops, one with Miguel Gallego about Tourism Passion Communities – Explorers of cultural identity and roots, and a panel discussion with Nathan Huegen, Ingrid Maan, Carla Sawyer and Martin Cugnon on How to create remembrance tourism products and offers.

During the LRE Forum, we had the pleasure to welcome the participants of a press trip following the route of liberation by train, and of two FAM trips, organized in partnership with ETC, which took North American tour operators either to Benelux or to Italy and the Czech Republic.