BATTLEFIELD TOURISM GUIDE
The Heelsum Memorial
This serves as a rough guide to assist you in visiting the Arnhem city area. The whole Market Garden battlefield covers a large area, and there are many places to stay in or visit. This guide focuses on Arnhem itself, and the immediate surrounding battlefield.
GETTING THERE/GETTING AROUND
There are several routes to reach Arnhem from the UK. From the Channel Ports take the A16 to Dunkirk. Continue on the motorway to Ostend and follow the A10 to Gent (Gand). At Gent take the A14 to Antwerpen (Anvers), then A21 to Eindhoven. From here you could continue on the motorway system direct to Arnhem, or follow the route of Hells Highway.
Alternatively you could fly into Amsterdam and rent a car. The best route down is via the A2 to Utrecht, and then A12 direct to Arnhem.
There are also trains to Arnhem from Amsterdam, with usually one change being necessary. Outside the railway station in central Arnhem is the main bus station, and these buses can also be used to get around the area. An office near to the exit from the station hires out bicycles from 5,20 € per day and 21 € per week. (Tel: +31(0)26 4421782)
An additional route is one which means more time on a ferry, but much less time driving. You will arrive fresher and ready to spend time exploring the battlefield. This route is Harwich to the Hook of Holland, with Stena Line HSS Fast Cat ferry which takes about 3½ hours. Night crossings are also available now. The route by road is then E25 onto A12: Rotterdam- Utrecht- Arnhem, about 90 miles and 1 ½ hours drive time. (Opposed to Calais- 230 miles: 3½ hours).
You could always walk to most of the locations once you are in Arnhem; the best way to see any battlefield and a good way to get a feel of the distances the Airborne troops had to cover in 1944!
TOURIST OFFICE - UK
PO Box 30783
London WC2 6DH.
Tel: 0207- 539 7950
The excellent Arnhem tourist office is located at:
Willemsplein nr 8
It has a useful web site:
Here you can book accommodation and order tourist information.
Another good tourism web site is Go Arnhem, which includes details of accommodation, restaurants and other local information for the Arnhem area:
PLACES TO STAY
The following main hotels are in Arnhem itself. Julian Whippy has added comments on the ones he knows and has used, in terms of their suitability for visiting the battlefields. Your own comments on the others, if you have used them, is welcome!
Bilderburg Hotel Wolfheze****, Wolfhezerweg 17, 6874AA Wolfheze. Tel: 026 333 7852.
Best Western Hotel****, Stationsplein 1, 6811 KG Arnhem. Tel:
026-4427441. Fax: 026-4427449.
Gold Tulip Rijnhotel****, Onderlangs 10, 6812 CG Arnhem. Tel:
026-4434642. Fax: 026-4454847.
Hotel Dreyerood (The White House)***, Graaf Van Rechterenweg, 6861 BR Oosterbeek. Tel: 026- 3333 169
Mercure Hotel***, Europaweg 25, 6816 SL Arnhem. Tel: 026-3573333. Fax: 026-3573361.
Hotel Pension Parkzicht**, Apeldoornsestraat 16, 6826 AB Arnhem. Tel: 026-4420698. Fax: 026-4436202.
There are also some Bed & Breakfast establishments in the area -
contact the Tourist Office (above).
6816 PB Arnhem
Tel: 026 4423 469
There are quite a few campsites northwest of Arnhem City centre; this one is reasonably near some of the historical sites and close to the Museum 1940-1945. A few minutes from Amsterdamsweg N224.
The main museums in Arnhem itself are:
Arnhem War Museum 40-45
Kemperbergerweg 780, 6816 RX Arnhem
TEL: +31(0)26 4420958
- The 'Arnhem War Museum 40-45' opened in 1994, and covers the
entire period of WW2 from the years of occupation, to the Battle of Arnhem and
ending with the liberation in 1945. A vast array of uniforms and equipment is on
display, together with some vehicles. Normally open 10.00am-5.00pm every day.
Closed Mondays. Groups must book in advance.
Airborne Museum Hartenstein
Utrechtseweg 232, 6862 AZ Arnhem
TEL: +31(0)26 3337710
- A large model of the area with spoken commentary and slides as well as a
comprehensive number of photographs with detailed captions illustrate the course
of the battle. In addition, a large collection of original weapons and equipment
of both allied and German origin is on display. In the basement various scenes
of the battle are depicted in life-size dioramas using original uniforms and
equipment. Anti-tank guns left after the battle
(including a 17-pounder) stand next to the museum together with a Sherman tank.
Easiest to find is the Michelin sheet No 908 which covers all of Holland, and useful for just a road tour of the area; and helpful for the approach routes as well. More detailed local maps are available from the VVV in Arnhem (see above).
In 2001 Major & Mrs Holt published a Battle Map of Operation Market Garden. This normally sells at £4 in the UK, and is widely available. It comes free with the guidebook of the same name (see below). This new book appears their best one to date and is useful for the entire battlefield, and detailed enough to orientate the Arnhem area as well (either by car or on foot). However, my notes tell me that we had some problems using it on the XXX Corps route and it is recommended you have it alongside a modern road map. The map can be ordered from: http://www.guide-books.co.uk/ and is certainly an indispensable item to have with you.
For those who wish to walk the Battlefield or visit some of the more remote located, we recommends the 'Falk' series of maps. These are 1:25,000 and the Town map inserts are even 1:12,500. They are very good. They are available in the UK from Footprint Maps, 25, Saltersford lane , Alton, Stoke on Trent , Staffs, ST10 4AU. Tel: 01538 703842. I also managed to buy some at the Oosterbeek Tourist Office VVV in 2005. The two maps to get are:
1 - “Renkum”- showing Oosterbeek, Wolfheze, Heelsum.
2 - “Arnhem” – greater town plan.
There are an increasing number of new guidebooks to the Arnhem area. Major & Mrs Holt's Battlefield Guide: Operation Market-Garden (Leo Cooper 2001) (http://www.guide-books.co.uk/) is part of their all-colour illustrated 'glossy' guidebooks to the battlefields of two world wars. It also includes a map of the battlefield (see above). I must say I have had problems in using some of their WW1 guides, but they do publish regular updates and personally I think this is their best guide-book to date. It does include both the XXX Corps actions as well as the Airborne operations. Certainly no visitor to the Arnhem area should be without this useful publication, and it makes a good pre-tour study book as well to set the scene and get an idea of what you can see in the field from the numerous, and high quality, colour photographs.
A guide by an Arnhem veteran is John Waddy's excellent A Tour of the Arnhem Battlefields (Leo Cooper 1999). It concentrates on the Airborne operations in and around Arnhem itself, includes many first-hand accounts, with good maps and photos. Recommended.
Tim Saunders is currently working on a series of books about the fighting at Arnhem in the Battlefield Europe WW2 series. Two books are already out, Hell's Highway and Nijmegen, with others to follow. See the Pen & Sword web site for further details.
Other useful books include:
Badsey, S. - Arnhem (Osprey Campaign series)
Frost, J. - A Drop Too Many (Sphere Books 1980)
Harclerode, P. - Arnhem: A Tragedy of Errors (Arms & Armour Press 1994)
Harvey, A.D. - Arnhem (Cassell 2001)
Hibbert, C. - Arnhem (Windrush Press 1962, 1998)
Kershaw, R.J. - It Never Snows In September: The German View of Operation Market Garden (Ian Alan 1994)
Marix Evans, M. - The Battle for Arnhem (Pitkin Guide 1998)
Middlebrook, M. - Arnhem 1944 (Viking 1994)
Powell, G. - The Devils Birthday: The Bridges to Arnhem (Pen & Sword)
Ryan, C. - A Bridge Too Far (Hamilton 1974)
Urquart, R.E. - Arnhem (Cassell 1958)
Zwarts, M. - German Arnhem Units at Arnhem (Concord Publications 2001)
- The National Archives (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk) also used to sell a “Battlefront” pack on Market Garden, which is useful. It has copies of documents, maps and photos from PRO archives. Also several War Diary excerpts, and SS and Ultra Messages. It sold for £9.99.
©Paul Reed 2002-2010