Themed route

Liberation close by, resistance in action

The Netherlands





7.27 km

Leeuwarden was liberated from Nazi occupation in April 1945. The city got liberated by the Royal Canadian Dragoons, who made a major contribution to the liberation of Friesland. A confluence of circumstances also allowed them to be the first Canadian unit to be received in Leeuwarden. The bond that then developed between Leeuwarden and the Royal Canadian Dragoons has since remained.

Before and during the liberation of Leeuwarden, local resistance fighters deluded the German forces twice. The first moment was in December 1944, when the detention centre in Leeuwarden was raided by armed resistance. The action successfully freed 51 people without a single shot being fired.

The second moment was when the German ‘Sprengkommando’ placed explosives on the Leeuwarden Post Office. The building was one of the key elements for the Canadians since it was essential to the functioning of telephony and telegraphy in Friesland. Destruction of the post office would have made communication between the advancing Canadians troops and the resistance sabotage groups much more difficult.

But once the German troops tried to blow up the building, they discovered the local resistance had replaced the explosives by fake ones made of wood...

Discover this story and many more along this beautiful 7 kilometers walk in and around Leeuwarden.