Vught is just a few kilometers away from the place where my in-laws currently live and my husband grew up not that far from here. When we’re visiting his family, we usually try to explore the region as well. My husband didn’t enjoy visiting museums in the past so now we can catch up on that. A few weeks ago we visited the Geniemuseum, also known as the Engineering Museum.
It is part of the Van Brederode barracks and it is situated in the place of the Herzogenbusch concentration camp. This place was the only concentration camp in Western Europe outside of Germany that was run directly by SS. It was in the middle of the war (beginning of 1943) and after the war it served as a prison for Dutch and German collaborators. A few hundred meters away from the museum is a national monument dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the camp.
Today, we will visit the outside exposition. Next time, I will take you inside of the museum too! The building of the museum used to serve as a kitchen in the concentration camp and it will be an interesting tour too!
When my husband suggested to visit this museum, I wasn’t that thrilled as I thought that it was all dedicated to the war. But the large part of the museum is dedicated to the different units of the Engineers, such as the pontoneers, pathfinders, sappers, or miners. It is a truly interesting place and I’m glad that I agreed to visit it.
The outside exposition focuses mainly on the military vehicles that were used to build bridges.
Let’s start our excursion!
The area of the museum is bigger than I expected and there are various vehicles that you can see here.
This vehicle is called the Caterpillar Tractor D7. It is an American machine which was used between 1945 and 1975. It was one of the most important vehicles of the engineers.
Next to the vehicle is a photo of a guy in his underwear sitting on the tractor and around him is a pile of rocks and bricks. It’s a bizarre picture as he looks like he was on vacation instead of working on building of new roads after the war.
Rupsdozer Hamomag K12d vehicle was used for closing the craters, cleaning the fallen trees from the roads, or destroying the walls. I haven’t heard of a Rupsdozer before but apparently it is a sort of a bulldozer.
This is the Boot Bruggenbouw or boat used to build bridges. It was built in 1962 and it was used to build temporary bridges, ferry constructions as well as fixed bridges.
My husband tried to explain to me how it works exactly but I kind of didn’t get it and was only nodding along so that we didn’t have to spend more time on this topic.
This excavator made me think of my 3 years old nephew who plays with exactly same vehicle, just yellow and much smaller in size.
I’ve read that this machine was used until the 90th. I’m sure that my nephew would be fascinated by its size if he would have been there with us.
This is an observatory station. It was meant for two observers and one writer. In case of emergency it could also serve as a fire station.
I thought that an observatory station would be smaller and somehow hidden, so that the enemies couldn’t see it. I can’t really imagine how this construction could be hidden somewhere.
This is a bunker that was built in 1939 and found in Scheveningen in 2010. It was found during the renovation work of the boulevard. Its weight is 90 ton! It’s been available to public since 2011.
This vehicle is called Lepelschop in Dutch. It literally translates to spoon shovel in English. It was used to move ground from one place to another.
This is a bailey bridge – a portable bridge which is built from steel and wood. It was light enough to be carried on trucks and lifted into its place without using a crane. The bridge was used to provide a temporary solution for pedestrians or vehicle traffic.
Here is another Caterpillar tractor but this one is smaller than D7. Its number is D4 and it was used around the same time as its bigger brother. Or is it a sister?😊
At first, I thought that these were some kind of boats. You can see that I’m not that familiar with this kind of tools. I’ve learned that these are pontoons which were used at the end of the 19th century. This explains why they are so rusty 😊
This was meant to protect the shooters and their equipment. It was used during the World War II as it was easy to hide and difficult to find.
I must say that this was the scariest object from the entire exposition for me. I can’t handle small, closed and dark places well and this is exactly that kind of a space that I wouldn’t like to enter. And the fact that people were really hiding in there to save their lives doesn’t add to it either.
It’s not the place that I would normally choose to visit and therefore I’m glad that my husband suggested it.
I hope that you have enjoyed the tour!
Thank you for reading!