The French museum is better known under the name "Museum National d'Histoire Military".
The museum rose from the Historical Museum Diekirch and is settled in an old factory. The main part of the collection is about the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944-1945. The collection has a couple of large diorama's which represent the actions that happened in that period.
Around those diorama's, you can find pictures, weapons, vehicles, dummies etc.
The second part of the museum occupies on the history of the army of Luxembourg throughout the centuries, until the UN missions nowadays. A small part of the collection is dedicated to World War I.
When you enter the museum compound, you don't know what you see. The contrast to what we see over there is huge, when we compare it to the Dutch museums. Ample of space on the car park. The only thing that makes you suspicious that this is a museum, is the big Howitser and the Sherman tank in front. Up ahead, the old factory building can be noticed. At that moment, the first thing that crosses your mind: "Well, this is it..."
Via a narrow hallway, you enter the first room and everything you had in mind can now be forgotten... permanently. It's like you're right in the middle of the battle. Above your head is a soldier, trying to fix a phone connection, while a field kitchen at a heavily damaged barn seems to be working. From that moment on, you'll walk from battleground to battleground, each time, the impression silences you.
At our visit, a couple of veterans were inside. You could see what they were thinking, they were back in time. A couple of tears ran down some of the veterans faces. I heard one of them whisper to his wife: 'So alive'. You can't walk through this building and not getting touched by what you see. I've seen lots of museums about the Second World War, even with large diorama's, but this museum has really touched me most. Not a single picture I have taken, can describe the sphere in there. You've got to be there, in order to feel it.
For current visiting hours, please visit the website of the museum.
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- Text: Wilco Vermeer
- Photos: Lennard Bolijn