Essay: War tourism and commemoration – from selfies to Schindler’s List

Lately, in the context of Remembrance Day here in the Netherlands, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the different ways in which World War II is being remembered today. For us, being occupied by Nazi Germany during the war has become a foundation myth of our identity, and most Dutch novels,  films, and even musicals (Soldier of Orange, based on the book of the same name) about the war centre around the two main protagonists in that myth: the evil collaborators and the virtuous members of the resistance. You can even pretend to be a member of the underground press in an escape room in Nijmegen, racing against the clock to escape discovery by the Nazis.

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Shutterspeed: The St. Petersburg metro

Last week I returned from a twelve-day holiday in the northeast of Europe, where I’d never been before. We flew to Helsinki, where we spent a few days; from there, we took the train to St. Petersburg; and finally, we took a night bus to Riga, from where we flew back home. It was a wonderful trip, presenting us with a side of Europe I’d never seen before.

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Shutterspeed: Amsterdam

A visit to Amsterdam is always a treat – whenever I’m down there for the day I seem to soak up the art, architecture, exhilaration, diversity and history of the city like a sponge. Here is a collection of snapshots I took during various visits in the past few months.

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Shutterspeed: Wrocław

Some time ago, my friends and I went on a city trip to Wrocław, Poland’s fourth largest city. It was my first time visiting Poland, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better introduction than I got by wandering around in this breathtaking city for 48 hours. For both culture vultures and those looking for good food, drinks and parties on the cheap, Wrocław is more than worth a visit. See also my earlier post about Wrocław in self-portraits.

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Histourism: Band of Brothers Actors’ Reunion at the Nuts Weekend in Bastogne

You may remember that around the end of last year, I visited the town of Bastogne with two friends. Being big fans of HBO’s Band of Brothers, we wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve together in the same vicinity as the paratroopers did over 70 years ago: in the Ardennes, site of the Battle of the Bulge. I wrote a report about this very special trip here.

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