Photo report: the Netherlands at war, 1940-1945

This year, we’re celebrating 77 years since the end of World War II. The world we live in today is quite different, making this the perfect day to reflect on the grand historical event that WWII was.

World War II was something unprecedented in the history of humankind and the marks it left behind are still visible. However, like any major crisis, it brought out both the best and the worst in humanity, be it our ability to demonstrate solidarity or our destructive tendencies.

We’ve compiled a report with photos from World War II in the Netherlands, as a visual reminder of those days not that long ago.

Dutch soldiers on guard shortly after the war started, around 1939

Image: Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

The bombed-out centre of Rotterdam after the Blitz

The bombing of Rotterdam took place on May 14, 1940. Image: Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

The German army in Amsterdam, 1940

Image: German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

The destruction of Nijmegen

A panoramic view of the city of Nijmegen, Holland, and the Nijmegen Bridge over the Waal River (branch of Rhine) in the background. The city was hit by German and Allied bombardment and shelling. September 28, 1944. Image: US Archive/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

Street scene in Amsterdam, 1944

Image: NIOD Institute for War. Holocaust and Genocide Studies/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

Chocolate handed out to Dutch children

A carrier crew of the 8th Rifle Brigade hands out chocolate to Dutch civilians during the advance of the 11th Armoured Division in Holland, September 22, 1944. Image: Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Queen Wilhelmina inspecting troops somewhere near Eindhoven, around 1944-1945

Image: Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

The bombing of the Bezuidenhout area in the Hague, 1945

Image: The Hague Municipal Archives/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

Canadian troops pass by a windmill close to Holten, 1945

Image: National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

Sherman tanks advancing through Valkenswaard, 1945

Image: Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

Public shaming of collaborators with the Nazis

Dutch people who collaborated with Nazi authorities were publicly shamed by the Dutch resistance, 1945. Image: Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Canadian soldiers with Dutch children, 1945

Image: Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons/CC1.0

The Queen speaking to locals, 1945

Image: Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons/CC1.0

German prisoners of war in Venlo, 1945

Image: U.S. National Archives/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain

Dutch citizens and Canadian soldiers celebrating liberation

Image: Tylerweatherill/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

READ MORE | 7 unmissable movies about the Netherlands in WWII

To learn more about World War II in the Netherlands, you can read about Remembrance Day and Liberation Day, as well as the infamous Rotterdam Blitz.

What photos did you enjoy most? Got any other photographs that you feel need to be shown? Let us know in the comments!

Feature Image: Lt. D. Guravitch/Wikimedia Commons/Public domain
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2018, and was fully updated in May 2022 for your reading pleasure.

Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad was born and raised in Brasov, Romania and came to the Hague to study. When he isn't spending time missing mountains or complaining about the lack of urban exploration locations in the Netherlands, you can find him writing at Dutch Review.

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  1. What a great article. Although I was very young during the war it left a lasting expression
    I particularly remember the Canadian soldiers who dealt out chocolate.


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