the city of liberty

PEace & nature in

Tour Guide

This is a virtual walk through the city Wageningen, based on the capitulation freedom tour, as found on RouteYou, but heavily adapted.

It includes images, poetry, quotes and information about the peace and nature highlights that this city holds, brought to you by the Bertha von Suttner Peace Institute.

Walk this virtual route from the comfort of your mobile phone!

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Come along on a


and see the




based in part on this trail by RouteYou

Belmonte Arboretum

Twice in WWII, in 1940 and in 1944, Wageningen was the scene of serious fighting. In both cases, the Belmonte estate was hit. Wageningen UR bought the estate in 1951 in order to expand the botanical garden De Dreijen.

We start Part 2 at the

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a sunken lane that forms the end of the old route from Lunteren along Ede, Bennekom and Wageningen to the Lexkesveer on the Nederrijn. It was formed because this prehistoric route had to descend the 'Wageningse Berg' to the river.

a little further down the road is the

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It is a green hollow where a stream gurgles,
Crazily catching silver rags of itself on the grasses;
Where the sun shines from the proud mountain:
It is a little valley bubbling over with light.

A young soldier, open-mouthed, bare-headed,
With the nape of his neck bathed in cool blue cresses,
Sleeps; he is stretched out on the grass, under the sky,
Pale on his green bed where the light falls like rain.

His feet in the yellow flags, he lies sleeping. Smiling as
A sick child might smile, he is having a nap:
Cradle him warmly, Nature: he is cold.

No odour makes his nostrils quiver;
He sleeps in the sun, his hand on his breast
At peace. There are two red holes in his right side.

Arthur Rimbaud (1870)

As translated by Oliver Bernard: Arthur Rimbaud, Collected Poems (1962)

The Sleeper in the Valley

Rhine Floodplains

Next to the typical Dutch landscape you can enjoy an enormous biodiversity here. In winter, the rugged meadows occasionally flood and become inaccessible. In the warmer months you will find special plants, rare mushrooms and red-list birds.

At the end of the Holleweg you have an amazing view of the

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Laboratory for Microbiology

The building constructed in 1920-1922 was designed by Cornelis Jouke Blaauw in the same style as two other laboratories in Wageningen.

Back up the Wageningse Berg is the

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Schip van Blaauw

This was the Laboratory for Plant Physiology before the building on the previous page. Built in 1919-1922 and also designed by C. J. Blaauw.

Close by we find the

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the former experimental garden of the university with remains of the city and castle wall, ancient majestic trees and the idyllic city moat.

On our way to the next stop we cross the

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Borne Voie de La Liberté

the physical endpoint of the Normandy-Netherlands cycling route, that runs from Utah Beach to Bastogne in Belgium, a length of of 1147 kilometers. The longest war memorial and has been extended to the Netherlands with the end point being Wageningen.

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On my school notebooks
On my desk and the trees
On the sand and the snow
I write your name

On all pages read
On all blank pages

Stone blood paper or ash
I write your name [...]

On the jungle and the desert

On the nests on the gorses
On the echo of my childhood
I write your name

On the wonders of the nights
On the white bread of days
On the engaged seasons
I write your name [...]

On the fields on the horizon
On the wings of birds
And on the mill of shadows
I write your name


On every breath of dawn
On the sea on the boats

On the demented mountain
I write your name [...]

On absence without desire
On naked loneliness
On the steps of death
I write your name

On health regained

On risk that is no more
On hope without memories

I write your name

And by the power of one word
I start my life again
I was born to know you
And to name you


Translated (2020) exerpts from Liberté by Paul Éluart (1942)

Museum De Casteelse Poort

The villa stands on the foundations of what was once the 16th century castle of Wageningen. Remains of the castle, such as the castle wall and the recently restored brewing cellar, can be seen in and next to the museum. In a permanent exhibit the museum displays the history of the city and it’s castle. The history of Wageningen during the occupation can be seen in the exhibition ‘Peace comes to Wageningen 1945’.

The borne stands next to

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City Hall

Although Wageningen has had city rights since 1263, it is not clear where the city council was housed in the first centuries. In the 17th century, the 'Schutteryenhuys' was purchased, renovated and put into use as a town hall. It has been renovated several times: The statue of Lady Justice dates from 1722 and the current landing from 1754.

We re-enter the city center at the

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Population Register Plaque

On January 9th, 1943, two members of the resistance stole the population register from the town hall. This act of defiance was the first in a series of similar acts during the war in the Netherlands. Because of this, a lot of Dutch people were saved from the tyranny of the occupier.

At the new entrance is this

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Fly Away, Love and Peace Sculpture

symbolizing the international Wageningen student who flies around the world to spread knowledge. The birds also represent the dove of peace, because peace was signed in Wageningen. The female figure transmits her love, because peace and freedom are inherent in love for each other and for the world.

Across the square stands the

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National Liberation Window

unveiled on May 5th in 1987 by her majesty Queen Beatrix. It commemorates all those who fought, suffered and prayed in WWII: Countrymen and allies, and to pay tribute to all soldiers, to the merchant navy, the resistance and to all who have made an effort for freedom.

Inside the Grote Kerk you can see the

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The Gate of Life

In memory of the Jewish fellow citizens from Wageningen and surroundings who were deported and murdered by the German occupiers during the 1940-1945.
The Gate of Life shows people who stay connected to the community.

'Levenspoort' Jewish Monument

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Translation of the Hebrew and Dutch inscription on the monument

Where those who survived the drama walked through hand in hand and the others unfortunately stayed behind.

All who have come through this gate of life alive into the present, survivors and new generations after them, are both connected to their past and motivated towards a better future.

Strong and powerful they are part of our society, but remain vigilant to avoid repetition of the unimaginable.

Gate of Life

Quote by Yetty Elzas
Artist of the Gate of Life
Translated from Dutch

Water Lily Monument

a stainless steel sculpture in the shape of a water lily with twelve petals. One is missing, indicating the corruption of what was once perfect. The sculpture is placed on four natural stones with an inscription of the names of eleven Wageningen soldiers who died in the former Dutch East Indies.

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Monument for the Fallen 1940-1945

Originally a simple wooden cross placed "In grateful memory of all who lost their lives for the fatherland, 3-5-1946". In 1970 it was replaced by the current monument. Nowadays it is the end of the silent journey during the commemoration of the dead that is held annually on May 4th.

The route ends at the

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All images used in this part of the Peace and Nature Highlights were either made by R. Verhoeff or distributed under the Creative Commons license.

National Liberation Window
- Pim van Tend (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NL)

All images edited with grainy film B03 in Snapseed.

All poetry included is used with permission of the author or from the pucblic domain.

The end of Part 2

Make sure to check out our The Hague Peace and Nature Trail as well!