New Visitor Center to be Built at Netherlands American Cemetery
ABMC has begun the planning process for a new visitor center at Netherlands American Cemetery. To help tell the American World War II story, this new building will include exhibits that give context to the more than 8,000 marble headstones set in the Dutch countryside along with the nearly 2,000 names inscribed on the Walls of Missing.
American forces fought their way through the Netherlands in the fall of 1944 as part of the Rhineland Campaign, and succeeded in liberating significant portions of the southern part of the country. The Combined Bomber Offensive devastated German industrial production and dramatically weakened the enemy. But with operations such as Market Garden, and a bitter war of attrition on the ground, liberation came at a significant cost to American forces.
This history will be explored in the new visitor center along with the special relationship the cemetery has always had with the local Dutch community. Since 1945 local citizens have adopted the grave sites at the cemetery as a way to honor the American sacrifice. While a general vision exists for this new building, the project is still in its infancy, and has a prospective opening date in 2021.
This visitor center at Netherlands will be the 10th opened by ABMC is recent history. The Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center opened in 2007, followed by visitor centers at Cambridge American Cemetery, Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument in 2014. Renovated visitor centers at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Flanders-Field American Cemetery were dedicated in 2017. A new visitor center at Chateau-Thierry American Monument will open in 2018. And visitor centers at Manila American Cemetery and the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery are currently in production.
Established by Congress in 1923, the American Battle Monuments Commission commemorates the service, achievements, and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces. ABMC administers 26 overseas military cemeteries, and 29 memorials, monuments, and markers.