The First Miles to Liberty
75th anniversary of the liberation of South Limburg In September 2019, the south of Limburg will celebrate the liberation of the first Dutch cities and the end of World War II for this region. After 4 years, 4 months and 4 days, a period of occupation characterized by violence, repression and uncertainty for the civilian population, came to an end. In order to commemorate these events, Stichting Liberty Maastricht organizes large scale events in several South Limburg regions, in collaboration with many Dutch and foreign organizations. A large convoy of mainly American historic army vehicles and a large group of re-enactors, will tour through the south of our province. Starting in Mesh, the first liberated village in The Netherlands, on the 12th of September, the tours will continue until the 15th. During the entries in the cities and villages, four singers from England will perform the repertoire of the forties. We hope that many veterans will be able to be present. Fly-overs with historic allied planes are arranged. Besides the four tours, several official ceremonies will be organized, such as a commemoration service in the Gerlachus Church in Houthem on the 13th of September. On the same day, in and around the town of Valkenburg, historic displays will be set up as part of a living history event for school children. Not only American and German positions are planned but also former hiding places and hidden factories in the lime-stone quarries can be visited. In Maastricht the tour will hold in Wyck and the Vrijthof area where the public can enjoy the wartime songs from our British performers, big-band music and the Pipes and Drums from the Maastricht Police. The orchestra from the Royal Dutch Marines will give a concert in the evening in the Vrijthof theatre. The music program will be alternated by international guest singers and speakers. Finally on Sunday the 15th, our group will tour further through our province and celebrate the liberation in and around the cities Meerssen and Beek in collaboration with War Museum Eyewitness. We hope that the different municipalities will stimulate local schools, drama societies and music companies to be present and contribute.
Preliminary program (depending on ongoing negotiations with the municipalities) Wednesday, September 11th : arrival and setting up the base camp at Landal Green Park in Valkenburg; compulsory evening briefing of the participants (planning and safety regulations). Thursday, September 12th : Entry of convoy from Belgium into Mesch; Official ceremony with local officials and American Veterans; Tour through several villages such as Mesh, Mheer, Noorbeek, Eckelrade, possibly ending in Margraten. Live entertainment during the stops. Friday, September 13th : First stop in Houthem-St. Gerlach; oecumenic church service in the Gerlachus church (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish), with the Brass Quintet from the Dutch military Fanfare van de Bereden Wapens and international guests. Lunch, official speeches and performances in the gardens of the Chateau. Split up of convoy and tours to 3 different locations in the valley of the Geul river. Displays and living history event for school children in Valkenburg. Central gathering of the three convoys and celebration entry in Valkenburg. Evening: Liberation party at Landal Green Parks. Saturday, September 14th : Entry in Wyck (East Maastricht): live performances and interaction with the public. Continuation of the tour to the centre of the town and display of vehicles at the Vrijthof square and the Jeker area. Evening: First Miles to Liberty Concert in the Vrijthof Theater in collaboration with the orchestra of the Royal Dutch Marines and special guests. At several locations in town, live music from the forties. Sunday, September 15th : Tour and entry in Meerssen; Speeches, exhibitions and lunch; Continuation of tour towards Beek and celebration program in collaboration with Museum Eyewitness Beek . Monday September, 16th : good bye breakfast and dismounting the bivouac at the Landal Park.
We cordially invite you to participate ! We cordially invite owners of historic vehicles and re-enactment groups to participate and make these days into a worthy commemoration and unforgettable event for all citizens and visitors of the South of Limburg. We are looking for vehicles such as Willy’s jeeps, several types of Dodge weapon carriers and motor cycles. In particular, there is a need for a balanced representation of heavier vehicles, such as GMC trucks, scout cars, armored cars, wreckers, ambulances and half-tracks. So far, we have a limitation of 75 - 100 vehicles. For several static displays, for instance at the base camp and in Valkenburg, we intend to acquire tanks, tractor pullers, artillery and comparable heavy equipment. We hope many groups and individuals will participate in order to re-enact the American divisions that liberated South Limburg, during the first days: Old Hickory, Red Horse and 2nd Armored Division. We ask you kindly if you are willing to participate setting up displays in Valkenburg, on September 13th. Specifically we are looking for medic posts, field artillery, a command post, signal post and field kitchen and a GMC repair shop. For this specific day, as well scenes from the American army as the German Wehrmacht are wished for. Our central bivouac will be located for six days at Landal Green Parks at the Cauberg, in Valkenburg. We are urging that the look of this bivouac will be American, World War II. We sincerely hope that you will be able to be present all days. Please, indicate if this is not possible, so we can take care of replacements during the days of your absence. Although the deadline for registration and payment is 15th August 2019, we hope that you indicate as soon as possible if you are willing to participate. This is of great importance in order to plan the complex activities and to arrange permits, especially if [demo-] weapons are expected to cross the Dutch border. Also the maximum of vehicles needs to be considered.
€ 15,- per vehicle and one driver
€ 7.50 per accompanying front seat passenger
€ 7,50 per re-enactor
Deadline for registration and payment: August 15th 2019 Upun registration you are assured of:
Free camp site and facilities (power, WC, shower)
Lunch during 4 days
Evening dinner on Friday, September 13th
Compensation for gasoline for owners of historic vehicles
Financial compensation for exceptional vehicles is negotiable
- An unforgettable event and new friendships
The registration fee can be transferred tot the bank account of Stichting Liberty Maastricht
NL42 ABNA 0825 5597 23