3.5 The Netherlands during WW2

9. The Time of World Wars
3.5. the Netherlands during WW2

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Slide 1: Tekstslide
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In deze les zitten 52 slides, met interactieve quizzen, tekstslides en 4 videos.

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9. The Time of World Wars
3.5. the Netherlands during WW2

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

What is this lesson about?
Between 1940 and 1945, German forces occupied the Netherlands. Nazi governor Seyss-Inquart attempted unsuccessfully to Nazify the Dutch. Not many people actively resisted. Approximately 100,000 Jews were deported and brought to their death. The southern provinces were liberated soon after D-Day. People in the northern provinces went through famine before they were liberated in May 1945.

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

people in this lesson
leader NSB
Nazi governor of NL
Anne Frank
Jewish girl

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Word Duty

NSB: Dutch national socialist political party

collaboration: working together with the enemy

transit camp: camp for the temporary accommodation of Jews until they were transported to extermination camps

extermination camp: camp specially designed by the Nazis for killing large numbers of Jews, and others considered to be inferior people

razzia: Nazi round-up to capture Jews

resistance: opposition to the occupying authority, e.g. sabotage actions, hiding Jews and Allied spies, spreading illegal newspapers

February Strike: a general strike in the Netherlands to protest against the persecution of Jews by the Nazis

Dutch Famine of 1944/45: famine that took place in the German-occupied part of the Netherlands; also known as Hongerwinter

Key words

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Important dates in this lesson:

1940: German invasion and start of the occupation (May)
1941: February Strike
          Workers are forced to work in German factories (Feb)
1942: yellow Star of David to be worn by all Jews (May)
1944: liberation of southern Netherlands (Sept)
1945: liberation of northern Netherlands (Apr)
          surrender of all German troops in the Netherlands (May 5th =                  liberation Day)

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

The German invasion

Despite the Netherlands being neutral, as it had been through all European wars since 1840, Germany invaded in the early hours of 10th May 1940. The Dutch had set up three lines of defence along its main rivers. They had constructed more than nine hundred armoured bunkers from which guns were fired, the so-called casemates. Most bridges across the River Maas were blown up to stop the invasion. The Dutch forces were able to put up more resistance than the Germans had expected, but fighting was short-lived. On 14th May 1940, the Germans tried to force the Dutch to surrender by bombing Rotterdam. Almost 900 citizens were killed and almost the entire historic centre was destroyed, leaving thousands of people homeless. The next day, with the Germans threatening to bomb other cities as well, Dutch general Winkelman surrendered. Meanwhile, queen Wilhelmina had fled to England after a failed German attempt to attack the government centre in The Hague.

the bombing of Rotterdam, May 14th, 1940. When the Germans threatened to bomb other Dutch cities like Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, the Dutch government decided to capitulate (surrender) to avoid further loss of lives and further destruction.
German troops crossing the Berlage Bridge into Amsterdam, May 15th, 1940.
Notice several Dutch bystanders giving the Nazi salute to the German soldiers.

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

1a. Give three reasons why the Dutch army was unable
to stop the Germans invading the Netherlands

Slide 7 - Open vraag

1b. After General Winkelman signed his surrender to the Germans,
many Dutch soldiers tried to flee to England.
Why did they want to go to England?

Slide 8 - Open vraag

2a. Why did the Germans bomb Rotterdam?
To give a demonstration of what the German Luftwaffe was capable of
to show that German resistance is futile
to destroy Dutch warships in the Rotterdam harbour
to force the Netherlands to capitulate

Slide 9 - Quizvraag

2b. What happened to the Dutch government?
the government including queen Wilhelmina surrendered to the Germans
the government including queen Wilhelmina fled to London
the government including queen Wilhelmina cooperated with the Germans
the government including queen Wilhelmina fled to Belgium

Slide 10 - Quizvraag

Slide 11 - Video

3. Video: What was the reason for the Germans
to deploy paratroopers in the Netherlands?

Slide 12 - Open vraag

The economic crisis of the 1930s had been a good breeding ground for national socialists in the Netherlands as well. In 1931, Anton Mussert had founded the National Socialist Movement (NSB), with some success. After May 1940, this became the only legal political party in the Netherlands. The NSB provided officials and mayors who cooperated with the Germans during the occupation. This form of collaboration was no exception: tens of thousands Dutch volunteers served in the German army, fighting on the Eastern Front. Hiltler appointed the Austrian Nazi Seyss- Inquart to govern the Netherlands. It was his assignment to create close economic cooperation with Germany: many goods were transported there and Dutch people were recruited to work in German factories.

The man in charge of ruling the Netherlands: Seyss Inquart, an Austrian Nazi. Here he inspects the german troops in the Binnenhof in The Hague.
Soon the Dutch people nicknamed Seys Inquart as 6 1/4 (Zes-en-een-kwart)
Anton Mussert, leader of the Dutch Nazi party, the NSB (Nationaal Socialistische Beweging) giving a speech to his followers in the 1930s.
Watch the short video about this place in the next slide.

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

Slide 14 - Video

4a. Tens of thousands Dutch volunteers joined the German army. Most of them were convinced National Socialists. How do you think these soldiers and their families were treated after World War II?

Slide 15 - Open vraag

4b. Even more Dutch workers were recruited to work in the German war industry. Can you explain why some want to do so?

Slide 16 - Open vraag

4c. Do you think that Dutch people who worked in the German war industry were treated the same as the Dutch volunteers who joined the German army? Explain your answer.

Slide 17 - Open vraag

Adjustment and Nazification

The Nazis saw the Dutch as fellow members of the Aryan ‘master race’; so Seyss-Inquart hoped that propaganda would be sufficient to persuade people become national-socialists voluntarily. Leaflets, newspapers, radio broadcasts and cinemas were used for this Nazification. Many Dutch were willing to cooperate with the Germans, but the NSB did not receive many new members. Most people just wanted to keep their jobs or maintain their businesses, so they simply adjusted to German occupation. Few people joined the NSB out of conviction to be a National Socialists. At the beginning of 1941, the German occupiers, realising their propaganda not had been effective enough, decided that more drastic measures had to be taken. Every artist had to become member of the Chamber of Culture and all radio stations were replaced by one station controlled by the state. Important government positions were only given to NSB members. 

The Germans used propaganda posters like this one to pursuade people to join the German army. They argued that Germany's fight against the Soviet Union and communism was a fight for all European people.
Elements in the poster:
The German soldier wears the uniform of a special Dutch "legion" (notice the Dutch flag and text on the sleeve) in German service. On his collar you see the "wolf's hook' (wolfsangel), a special rune symbol used for Dutch departments in the German special units of the Waffen SS.
The man in the background wears a Dutch lion on his tie, a coin with Wilhelmina's face on his lapel and a Dutch flag in his pocket.
Both claim to be "true Dutch", but the poster makes it clear that only those who join the German war against Russia are truly Dutch.

Slide 18 - Tekstslide

The Netherlands was ruled as a totalitarian state: the Nazis effectively controlled art, education, press and youth organisations. However, not enough Dutch people volunteered to work in Germany. From February 1941 onwards, Dutch prisoners of war were forced to work in German factories. Although many of them went into hiding, more than 600,000 Dutch people went to work in Germany.

German propaganda poster used to attract volunteers for working in German factories
Not everybody was eager to work in Germany...

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

5a. Explain the explosive growth of NSB membership in 1933.

Slide 20 - Open vraag

5b. When did Nazi Germany occupy the Netherlands? Explain the effect of this on NSB membership.

Slide 21 - Open vraag

5c. Look at the answer you gave at b. Do you think all these NSB members were convinced National Socialists? Explain your answer.

Slide 22 - Open vraag

Persecution of the Dutch Jews

Within weeks, the German occupiers started to isolate Jews in the Netherlands. One of the first steps was the so-called Ariërverklaring (Declaration of Arian Ancestry) that had to be signed by all teachers and civil servants. Soon after, Jewish teachers and civil servants were fired. In September 1941, Jewish children had to go to special Jewish schools. Jews were banned from public places such as parks, cinemas, playing fields, restaurants and public transport. From May 1942, they were forced to wear a recognizable yellow patch in the shape of a star on their clothing.
The next and final step was that all Jews had to report for a work programme in Germany. In reality, they were brought to a transit camp at Westerbork and then transported to extermination camps where, without exception, they were murdered. Examples of such camps were Auschwitz and Sobibor in Poland. The NSB held razzias: they searched neighbourhoods where Jews lived to find those trying to hide. More than 100,000 of the approximately 140,000 Dutch Jews were sent to their death in these camps. Others went into hiding or fled to other countries.

American aircraft carrier during the Battle of Midway
Japanese ZERO attack bomber used to drop torpedoes on US warships
Dutch Jews are taken to the station where they will be transported to concentration camps.

Slide 23 - Tekstslide

Slide 24 - Link

6a. Most Dutch people knew that not much good would happen to the Jews when transported to the East.
Do you think they could imagine what really happened there?

Slide 25 - Open vraag

6b. The treatment of the Jews at camp Westerbork was not bad. All kinds of activities such as games, sports and theatre were organised.
Can you think of a reason why the Jews were entertained in this way?

Slide 26 - Open vraag

7. This picture was taken at the Montessori school in Amsterdam.
The girl behind the teacher is Anne Frank.
Anne went into hiding on July 6th, 1942.
Explain why the picture could not have been taken after
September 1941.

Slide 27 - Open vraag


During the first period of the German occupation, there was hardly any resistance from the Dutch people. Most people were against the occupation, but did not dare to take any real risks. Their passive resistance consisted of secretly listening to ‘Radio Oranje’, which was broadcasted in London, or going into hiding to avoid working in Germany. Only a few dared to join the active resistance: they sabotaged German plans, helped to hide Jews and Allied spies, falsified identities and spread illegal newspapers. A large-scale strike took place only once, when in February 1941, labourers in Holland and Utrecht protested against the deportation and treatment of Dutch Jews. This strike is known as the February Strike.

Razzia on the Waterlooplein, February 1941. 425 Jewish men are arrested by force. This agressive German action leads to the first (and only) open Dutch resistance against the Germans: the February strike
Many people listened secretly to the radio.
On July 28, 1940, queen Wilhelmina opened  the first broadcast of Radio Oranje. The program grew into "De stem van strijdend Nederland".

Slide 28 - Tekstslide

from London, queen Wilhelmina speaks to the Dutch people  on Radio Oranje

Slide 29 - Tekstslide


Slide 30 - Tekstslide


Slide 31 - Tekstslide

But for whom?
The British prime minister Winston Churchill often gave the V-sign with his fingers, indicating that Britain and the Allies would be victorious.
When the Dutch people began to use Churchill's  V-sign as a symbol of resistance, the Germans were not amused.

Slide 32 - Tekstslide

The Germans came up with the plan to use the V-sign as a symbol for German victory.

Slide 33 - Tekstslide

Many Dutch made jokes about this German idea....
Oranje Zal Overwinnen
..and what did Beethoven and morse code have to do with all this? 
Next slide ..._

Slide 34 - Tekstslide

Slide 35 - Video

8. The tune from Beethoven's fifth symphony was adopted by the BBC because its rythm matched the morse code for the letter V, which was widely used as a symbol for Allied victory
not correct

Slide 36 - Quizvraag

9a. Resistance group from Dalfsen (Overrijssel).
Picture taken by an anonymous photographer in
September 1944.
Why was it a great risk for these people to have this
picture taken?

Slide 37 - Open vraag

9b. How can you tell whether these people took part
in active or passive resistance?

Slide 38 - Open vraag

Liberation and ‘Hongerwinter’

Shortage of food in the big cities caused people to eat crops that had never served as food before; they resorted to eating sugar beets and flower bulbs. Tulip bulbs were even used to make meals and soup.
After D-Day, Allied forces were able to advance quickly and liberate areas that were occupied by Germany. The south of the Netherlands was liberated by British and Canadian troops in the autumn of 1944, but this did not mean peacetime had arrived. Heavy fighting took place at the front lines; cities like Venlo and Roermond had to be evacuated as people there could not be provided with sufficient water, gas and electricity.

Eindhoven, Sept 18, 1944. Allied tanks drive along Stratum's Eind

Slide 39 - Tekstslide

The dancing crowd at the Markt in Eindhoven, during the liberation party on 18 September 1944
click here for more pictures of the liberation of Eindhoven. Maybe you see your own street.
click here
Eindhovens Dagblad article

Slide 40 - Tekstslide

Liberation and ‘Hongerwinter’

Shortage of food in the big cities caused people to eat crops that had never served as food before; they resorted to eating sugar beets and flower bulbs. Tulip bulbs were even used to make meals and soup.
After D-Day, Allied forces were able to advance quickly and liberate areas that were occupied by Germany. The south of the Netherlands was liberated by British and Canadian troops in the autumn of 1944, but this did not mean peacetime had arrived. Heavy fighting took place at the front lines; cities like Venlo and Roermond had to be evacuated as people there could not be provided with sufficient water, gas and electricity.

During the hunger winter many people, including children, tried to scrape something they could eat from waste bins
This is Henkie Holvast. He survived the Hunger winter of '44-'45
In the northwest of the Netherlands, people experienced the toughest conditions of the war. Resistance was severely punished and men were captured to work in German factories at random. A harsh winter, combined with a shortage of men, provisions, electricity and public transport brought food shortages in many cities in the west. Food shortages in the cities were made worse by the strike of 30,000 Dutch railway workers, who tried to stop the transportation of German troops and the deportations of Jews. During the Dutch Famine of 1944/45, more than 22,000 people died as a direct result of the food shortage, while many others died of the cold, due to a shortage of fuel. In April 1945, the north and east of the Netherlands were liberated by Canadian troops. German soldiers in West Netherlands surrendered without fighting on 5th May 1945. This day is still celebrated in the Netherlands as Liberation Day

Slide 41 - Tekstslide

10. Explain how the strike of the railway workers worsened the situation for people in the north-western Netherlands.

Slide 42 - Open vraag

11. These children are collecting wood from tramway
sleepers (bielzen).
Why would they do that?

Slide 43 - Open vraag

Slide 44 - Video

Slide 45 - Tekstslide

12. Match the words.
Here is the first one.
Write it down like this:
A-VI, B-...... etc

Slide 46 - Open vraag

13a. Which of the events, people or concepts is
the odd one out?
Anton Mussert
General Winkelman

Slide 47 - Quizvraag

13b. Which of the events, people or concepts is
the odd one out?
NSB membership
forced labour
Chamber of Culture

Slide 48 - Quizvraag

13c. Which of the events, people or concepts is
the odd one out?
Jewish schools
Westerbork concentration camp
February Strike
wearing a yellow star

Slide 49 - Quizvraag

13d. Which of the events, people or concepts is
the odd one out?
February Strike
‘Radio Oranje'
illegal newspapers
sabotage actions

Slide 50 - Quizvraag

Write down one question about something in this lesson that you still don't fully understand.

Slide 51 - Open vraag


Slide 52 - Tekstslide