In 2009 at the end of a 39-year army-career, Dirk moved to Arnhem to retire. While researching his family tree, he learned that one of three Dutchmen buried at the Airborne cemetery was a distant cousin of his wife. This sparked renewed interest in what had happened in September 1944.
The Market Garden Operation itself is well-known to Dirk, as he served as an army tactics teacher at both the Army Staff College and the Royal Military Academy. Also military history has been a keen professional interest for many years. After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, he was a member of an army study group tasked with rewriting Dutch army doctrine. Another position worth mentioning is his operational posting as Commander 15 Armoured Air Defence Battalion.
With that background Dirk conducted some private tours for friends and family in the past from his home in Ede. Often this was the retracing the steps of many map- and field-exercises with (candidate-) officers. Noticing a personal knowledge niche in early 2015, he started studying the opposition to the airborne troops in order to better understand what happened on both sides of the operation. This now gives him a unique dual perspective on the events around Arnhem in September 1944.
In mid-2015 Dirk started conducting battlefield tours with his own Battlefield Tours Arnhem 1944 (BTA44). Besides a number of specific German-perspective tours, Dirk also conducts battlefield tours around the Ede -Wolfheze - Oosterbeek - Arnhem area from the Airborne perspective. He has experience with both small and large groups, as well as with half- and full-day tours, including custom-made private tours.
Dirk is an Army-veteran, having served as full colonel, a 7-month tour with the NATO Training Mission in Iraq from early August 2006 till the end of February 2007.