André Ruiter Historic Landscapes


Traces of German World War II airfields in The Netherlands

About the project

While working on my project Festung about the Atlantic Wall fortifications in The Netherlands, I found many structures that differed greatly from the concrete bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. I discovered that they were part of the former airfields along the Dutch coast that were used by the German occupier during the Second World War. After doing some research it turned out that there're still many remains of these airfields present today and I decided to start a new photo project.

The airfields in The Netherlands were crucial for the German Luftwaffe to intercept Allied bombers on their way to Germany. The small airfields along the coast, called Flugplatz, became less important during the war and large airfields were built inland, such as Fliegerhorst Deelen and Twenthe. Most impressive are the remains of Fliegerhorst Venlo. This airfield was located on the border of The Netherlands and Germany. The airstrips were built on Dutch territory and the remains of hangars and runways can be found in the woods just across the border in Germany.

Thousands of planes were shot down during the Second World War in the skies over The Netherlands and the many bomb craters around the airfields are silent witnesses to this turbulent history.