Located in Amsterdam’s Plantage neighborhood, the Verzetsmuseum, also known as the Dutch Resistance Museum, showcases a variety of exhibits related to Dutch history and resistance efforts during World War II and includes a full children’s museum facility.
The Netherlands’ involvement in World War II began in May of 1940, when the country was invaded by German Nazi forces. Though the country had declared neutrality at the war’s start the previous September, its capture by Adolf Hitler and his forces caused the country to fall under German occupation until Germany’s surrender in May of 1945. Approximately 70% of the country’s Jewish population was killed in concentration camps during the war, a significantly higher percentage than neighboring countries such as France and Belgium. In response to this action, an industrial action protest was organized as a resistance to Nazi actions and persecution of Jews. Much of the country’s southern region was liberated during the latter part of 1944, though the areas remaining under occupation suffered a major famine known as the Hunger Winter until the country’s full liberation in May of 1945.
The building that houses the Verzetsmuseum was originally constructed in 1876 by the Oefening Baart Kunst, a Jewish choral society. Throughout the 20th century, the building, which was named in honor of Renaissance-era Amsterdam clergyman Petrus Plancius, was used as a Jewish synagogue facility and cultural center. In 1999, the building was converted into a museum honoring the Dutch resistance to Nazi forces in World War II and the country’s victims of the Holocaust.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
Today, the Verzetsmuseum is located within the Plancius building in Amsterdam’s Plantage neighborhood near the Artis Zoo, the Waterloopleing, and the Rembrandt House.. The museum showcases a variety of exhibits dedicated to the Netherlands’ involvement in World War II and the story of Dutch resistance forces against Nazi troops. It has received distinction as the country’s best historical museum for its exhibits, which are open to the public daily throughout the year with the exception of major national holidays. Adult and youth ticket rates are offered, along with free admission for all holders of I Amsterdam city cards.
Museum exhibits may be explored with the aid of a Podcatcher audio guide, which is available in Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Portuguese. 32 activation points are located along the tour, which is offered free of charge and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. A museum gift shop sells a variety of books, multimedia items, and souvenirs, and a restaurant, Brasserie Plancius, is offered next to the museum, serving light fare and coffee shop beverages.
The museum’s permanent exhibit The Netherlands in World War II recreates the urban environment of Amsterdam during the 1930s and 1940s, showcasing a variety of artifacts related to the country’s involvement in World War II and resistance efforts. The war’s impacts on everyday Dutch life are examined in the exhibit, along with the development of resistance efforts and protests, including strikes, refugee hiding efforts, underground newspapers, and citizen espionage. Personal items such as documents, photographs, and oral histories are emphasized to tell the stories of ordinary Dutch citizens during the war, and multimedia elements are showcased to bring the climate of Amsterdam under German occupation to life. The permanent exhibition’s information and multimedia elements are available in both Dutch and English.
Another exhibit, The Dutch Colonial Empire, focuses on the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies colony and the December 1943 resistance attack on the Amsterdam Resistance office. Resistance attack planners Gerrit van der Veen, Willem Sandberg, Johan Brouwer, Frieda Belinfante, Koen Limperg, and Willem Arondéus are profiled throughout the exhibit, which documents the planning of the attack, its execution, and its ensuing fallout. Visitors are encouraged to weigh the resistance’s use of violence and the planners’ punishment against the necessity of action to come to their own conclusions about the attack’s success in the scope of the war.
The museum’s Resistance Museum Junior is the Netherlands’ first full children’s museum focusing on World War II, showcasing a variety of artifacts and personal stories about the lives of Dutch children during the war. The museum is recommended for children ages nine years and older and is designed for children to visit with or without their parents. Combined entrance tickets for the main museum and the children’s museum are available, and multimedia elements and audio tours are available in Dutch and English.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to standard museum admission, guided museum tours are available for groups of up to 12 participants, including curriculum-incorporated field trip opportunities for primary and secondary school student groups. All tours last approximately one hour and are available in Dutch, English, or German. Groups with more than 12 participants may schedule several simultaneous tours with several tour guides. An assignment booklet emphasizing curriculum and exhibit concepts is available upon request for school tour groups.
Plantage Kerklaan 61, 1018 CX, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Phone: +31-2-06-20-25-35