Margraten, the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial - SPOT052

Margraten, the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial

Amerikaanse Begraafplaats 1, Margraten, The Netherlands
Keywords for this place of interest
Fighting Liberation Victory and defeat
Liberation Route Europe

Margraten, the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial

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. Here rest 8.301 American military dead.

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 they occupied for four years.

The cemetery's tall memorial tower can be seen before reaching the site, which covers 65,5 acres. From the cemetery entrance visitors are led to the ‘Court of Honor’ with its pool reflecting the tower. At the base of the tower facing the reflecting pool is a statue representing a mother grieving her lost son. To the right and left, respectively, are the visitor building and the map room containing three large, engraved operations maps with texts depicting the military operations of the American armed forces. Stretching along the sides of the court are the ‘Tablets of the Missing’ on which are recorded 1.722 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

Within the tower is a chapel. The light fixture in the chapel and the altar candelabra and flower bowl were presented by the government of the Netherlands and by the local provincial administration. Beyond the tower is a burial area divided into 16 plots, where rest 8.301 American military dead, their headstones set in long curves. A wide, tree-lined mall leads to the flagstaff that crowns the crest.

Tourist information

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. 

Adoption Program at the American Cemetery Margraten

At the cemetery in Margraten many of the graves have flowers that were placed by people who have adopted one or more graves and thus want to show their gratitude to the fallen liberators and their next of kin. The original idea to adopt graves of the American liberators came up in February of 1945. To this effect the “Burger Comité Margraten” (Citizens Committee Margraten) was formed. The committee’s goal was to support the set-up of the American Cemetery with an extensive adoption campaign. The adopters were supposed to regularly visit the adopted grave and, in case this was appreciated, keep in touch with the next of kin in the U.S. The campaign gained massive support. At the first Memorial Day in 1945 every grave was decorated with flowers. At the second Memorial Day one year later all graves (at the time an incredible amount of 18,764) had been adopted. Captain Shomon, the founder of the American Cemetery, praised the members of the committee for all the work they had done. Since 2015 all graves as well as all of the names in the Walls of the Missing are adopted and there even is a waiting list.  www.adoptiegraven-margraten.nl/en/

Opening hours The cemetery is open daily to the public from 09:00 to 17:00, except 25 December and 1 January. It is open on most country holidays.

Media gallery

Margraten, the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial

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...

Amerikaanse Begraafplaats 1, Margraten, The Netherlands 0031434581208 http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/ne.php

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