Jacqueline Oud - Culture

The "Airborne" March - De Airborne Wandeltocht

** See below for English version **

De Airborne Wandeltocht is een jaarlijkse wandeltocht te herdenking van de slag bij Arnhem, Oosterbeek en de Veluwe. Jong en oud loopt op deze speciale wandeltocht mee om de gebeurtenissen in ere te houden, en dat volgens ieders mogelijkheid. De afstanden zijn namelijk verschillend en varieren van 10 tot 40 kilometer.

De wandeltocht werd voor het eerst gehouden in het jaar 1947 en is praktisch ieder jaar sindsdien mogelijk geweest. Voor de omgeving van Oosterbeek is de Airborne wandeltocht dan ook niet weg te denken en de vele wandelaars die uit het buitenland deelnemen worden dan ook met plezier ontvangen.

Voor mensen die de omgeving niet kennen is dit tevens een mogelijkheid om de Veluwe, de Uiterwaarden en Doorwerth te ontdekken. En waarom niet nadien nog terugkomen om de omgeving om nader "kennis te maken".

Voor meer informatie, lees hieronder verder in de Engelse versie:

English Version of the Airborne March

The "Airborne March" is an worldy event that is organised every year and attracts almost 30.000 marchers from over 15 countries.

This shows already that the "Airborne March" is not an ordinary march. Let me explain you first its reason and history:

The "Airborne March" was created in 1947 for the first time as to commemorate the battle of Arnhem in September 1944. The aim was by this means to honour the 1700 British and Polish soldiers and airman who lost their lifes during this war. One is to understand that beside the film " A bridge too far" that is based on the World War II 1940-1945 in the Netherlands, a lot can be found in this region of the Netherlands that still recalls the wars that have been fought here.

A good exemple of these memories about this war is the Airborne Museum (located in the building that was the Divisonal Head Quarters during the war). It is for that reason that the March starts and finishes next to this museum. The March also takes you through different spots where the war was fought or official Airborne Cemetries.

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The official logo of the "Airborne March"

This may all sound very strange but let me reassure you that this March is very popular and attracts an enormous diversity of people. Some facts:

  • the March has been held for over 50 years,
  • last year’s March counted 29.215 participants,
  • the participants are from 15 countries,
  • within the participants a lot of militaries, from different countries and even some veterans,
  • but also many children and families or groups of friends,
  • the March can be made in 4 different distances: 10km, 15km, 25km, 40km (40km since a few years only),
  • each participant will get a medal as a proof of having joined and suceeded the March,
  • in other words: the "Airborne March" is to be the world’s largest one-day-march.

I have walked this March myself several times and though I no longer life in the Netherlands I still have the tradition to come back to participate. Besides the commemoration there is the fact of collecting the medals, have a nice one-day walk with friends, life the experience of the many people that participate. It really is a great experience!

To learn more about this famous March, have a look at the official website: Airborne March

[2 September 2003]


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