From 14 May 1940 to 5 May 1945, the Netherlands were occupied by Nazi Germany. Almost every Dutch person was affected by the consequences of the occupation. The choices and dilemmas facing the population became more far-reaching. How did Dutch people respond to the increasing oppression of the occupying power? Who took up resistance? Why, and in what ways?
'One of the best museums here in A'dam. Very well organised. And so many information'
'My journey through time was amazing and scary at the same time.'
'Thank you for the experience. Wonderfull fascinating exhibition. Learned so much - great combining of photos, film, music etc.'
Wende Gates, USA Read more
History of people
The permanent exhibition takes visitors back to the forties, the period of the German occupation during World War II. Streets and walls full of photos that make up the décor of the Dutch Resistance Museum help evoke the climate of the war years. The authentic objects, photos and documents, film and sound fragments, tell the history of people who lived through that period.
The exceptional as well as the everyday
The exhibition covers all forms of resistance: strikes, forging of documents, helping people to go into hiding, underground newspapers, escape routes, armed resistance, espionage. You’ll see, hear en read fascinating stories about the exceptional as well as the everyday in a time of occupation in which most people were far too embroiled in day-to-day worries to even think about daring to involve themselves in any kind of resistance, and in which still others opted for collaboration.
Moving personal documents and photographs, supplemented with video images and sound fragments, tell the story of people who were confronted with dilemmas by the German occupation, and were forced to make choices. At various points, the visitors are themselves involved very directly in such dilemmas.
Chronological story in various ‘layers’
The exhibition tells a chronological story from approximately 1930 to 1950, in which information is offered in various ‘layers’. A visitor striding through the exhibition will get an overall picture of a rather indolent Dutch society in the thirties, experience the shock of the unexpected German invasion, then discover that both the oppression and resistance to it gradually intensify in the occupation years as the war progresses, finally to realize that experiences of this period are still playing a role in today’s society.
A visitor looking a little more closely will be able to gather more detailed information, particularly from individual examples.
Context of everyday life
Much attention is paid to the context in which the resistance took place, the context of everyday life in a politically and denominationally segregated society, in which the church played a very important role.
Using authentic objects as well as all kinds of modern techniques, the Dutch Resistance Museum evokes a powerful atmospheric picture of the time, and ‘recounts’ events mainly on the basis of personal examples that appeal directly to visitors, and with which they can identify. This will not only capture the visitors' attention but also cause them to think about their own behaviour today.
Foreign visitors are deeply interested in the short, significant piece of Dutch history on which the Dutch Resistance Museum is focussed. The permanent exhibition is therefore bilingual: Dutch and English.
Dutch East Indies
A separate section tells the story of the former colony the Dutch East Indies, where the population suffered badly under the Japanese regime of terror.