The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. 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 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 women who have suffered loss. 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 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 8,288 of our military dead, their headstones set in long curves. A wide, tree-lined mall leads to the flagstaff that crowns the crest.
Unique to the cemetery is the connection with the Dutch people. Since 1945 members of the local community have adopted the grave sites of our fallen. They bring flowers to the cemetery and research the life of the service member as a way to honor their sacrifice. Today, the Foundation for Adopting Graves at the American Cemetery Margraten manages this program. With a similar intention the Foundation United Adopters American War Graves created a program known as The Faces of Margraten. This group collects photos of our fallen, and sponsors a bi-annual event at the cemetery during Dutch Memorial Day weekend. More than 3,000 photos are on display that weekend next to headstones and the Walls of the Missing, bringing visitors face-to-face with their liberators.
Netherlands American Cemetery
AM Begraafplaats 1
Netherlands American Cemetery lies in the village of Margraten, six miles east of Maastricht.
Travel via Car
The cemetery is on the main road N278, which runs between Maastricht and Vaals on the German-Dutch border. (After crossing the border, you immediately enter the outskirts of Aachen, where the road designation is the B1). From Brussels take the major highway E40 in the direction of Liège (Luik). Just after crossing the Meuse (Maas) river on the out-skirts of Liège, take the E25/A2 highway in the direction of Visé and Maastricht. After crossing the Belgian-Dutch border, continue on the E25/A2 into Maastricht. Take the exit off the highway marked “Wijken 26/27 Cadier en Keer and Vaals” This exit will put you on the N278 heading towards the cemetery. After passing through the village of Cadier en Keer, the cemetery is approx two miles on the right. From Germany/Aachen, take the E40 highway in the direction of Liège and then follow the directions as above. From Amsterdam take the A2 south all the way to Maastricht, and then follow the N278 to the cemetery.
Travel via Train
There is a connection from the Brussels airport to Brussels then to Liège then onto the Maastricht central train station. Travelers arriving in Germany and looking for train transport should travel through Aachen and then follow on to Maastricht (or take a bus as seen below). Amsterdam arrivals can get a train direct to Maastricht. Take local bus #350 on the Maastricht-Vaals line from the train station to the cemetery. The bus stops in front of the cemetery on the main road N278.
Travel via Airplane
Amsterdam is approximately 155 miles from the cemetery. Brussels is approximately 80 miles. Düsseldorf is approximately 80 miles. And Cologne is approximately 70 miles.
Travel via Public Transportation
Local bus service is on the Maastricht-Vaals line #350. The bus stops in front of the cemetery on the main road N278. During cemetery operating hours, the bus stops at the cemetery every 20 minutes. If traveling from Maastricht, you can catch this bus directly at the train station or any number of its stops along the way. If traveling from Aachen, catch the Aachen-Vaals line, and then transfer to the #350 in Vaals or Gulpen. (Vaals is in the Netherlands, on the German-Dutch border).
Hotels are available in Maastricht. Smaller towns and villages near the cemetery also offer bed and breakfasts.
News & Events
Every grave at Netherlands American Cemetery has been adopted by a local citizen. Learn more about this tradition that honors our fallen. This video is courtesy of American Forces Network Europe.
During Memorial Day weekend ABMC sites will pay tribute to the more than 218,000 individuals commemorated at these overseas cemeteries.
Experience the history of World War II through a new interactive timeline. View maps, watch videos, see photos and read about the events that shaped the war.