The Second World War in 100 objects

Feb. 5, 2014 – May 5, 2014 Deze tentoonstelling is afgelopen
For one time only, a hundred of the most exceptional objects from 25 war and resistance museums in the Netherlands are to be brought together and exhibited at the Kunsthal Rotterdam. ‘The Second World War in 100 Objects' is an exhibition that takes visitors back to the days of the Second World War giving it relevance for young and old alike.

The numerous events behind each of these objects evoke personal memories, emotions, abhorrence and sentiments stemming from the war years between 1940 and 1945. Even the smallest objects have fascinating stories to tell, like the flag of surrender that sergeant-major Gerrit van Ommering made on the day of the Rotterdam Blitz, hurriedly improvised from a broom handle and a sheet splattered with blood. But also the spectacles that the red-haired resistance worker Hannie Schaft wore as a disguise, and the child's jumper that a mother knitted during the ‘Hunger Winter' (the Dutchfamine of 1944) using dog hairs she had saved up over the years. Even the much-maligned SS flag  and an imposing Cromwell tank will also be spending three months at the Kunsthal.

A unique cooperation

This exhibition is an initiative of the National Committee for 4 and 5 May incooperation with the Stichting Musea en Herinneringscentra 40-45 (the foundation of Dutch museums and memorial centres 1940-1945), and is a unique joint venture between 25 Dutch war and resistance museums. For the first time ever, they will be presenting their collections under a single roof and in this way highlighting the importance of these objects and the stories they tell. Various joint activities will also take place in the lead up to the exhibition. Some of the objects have already been revealed at, giving the public a taste of what they can expect. Journalist and television producer Ad van Liempt is an authority on the subject of the Second World War and has travelled the length and breadth of the Netherlands over the past months in his search for the most appealing objects. He selected them from the various depots and collections of war and resistance museums, writing down their extraordinary stories as he went along. Members of the Dutch general public have also contributed to the exhibition by visiting regional collection days with their extraordinary objects, five of which were ultimately chosen for inclusion in the exhibition.

01 - Gastcurator Ad van Liempt op zoek naar voorwerpen.jpg
Gastcurator Ad van Liempt op zoek naar voorwerpen


Exclusively for this exhibition, the Kunsthal is developing a comprehensive educational programme aimed at a wide target group, from young children accompanied by parents and grandparents, to primary and secondary school pupils and vocational college students. The programme includes the WWII LAB, a themed educational area that has been integrated into the exhibition and where visitors can approach the subject of WWII from a different angle. The lab focuses on all aspects of peace and tolerance while visitors work together on a major joint artwork. For further information about these educational activities, please go to Information about all the participating museums andtheir activities is available at

The 25 museums that are participating in the exhibition are:

Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein', Anne Frank Stichting, Indisch Herinneringscentrum, Fries Verzetsmuseum, Nationaal Monument Kamp Amersfoort, Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught, Herinneringscentrum Kamp Westerbork, Oorlogsmuseum Overloon, Margraten Memorial Center, Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam, Stichting Vredeseducatie, Nationaal Bevrijdingsmuseum 1944-1945, Achterhoeks Museum 1940-1945, Bevrijdingsmuseum Zeeland, Stichting De Greb, Kazemattenmuseum, Museum Rotterdam/OorlogsVerzetsMuseum Rotterdam, Stichting Oranjehotel, Verzetsmuseum Zuid-Holland, Museon, Joods Historisch Museum, Hollandsche Schouwburg, Stichting Oorlogs- en Verzetscentrum Groningen, Museum en Tehuis Bronbeek, Markt 12


A richly-illustrated, compact publication is available to accompany the exhibition.


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