Juichende zusters Rode Kruis voor het museum dat dienst doet als noodhospitaal _15april1945
The Kröller-Müller Museum during the Second World War

The Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo has joined the LRE Foundation (LREF), the international network that keeps the memory of the Second World War alive in Europe. When you hear the name Kröller-Müller, you immediately think of the paintings by Vincent van Gogh and other modern masters. What many people may not know is that the museum also has a fascinating wartime history. For example, at the beginning of the war a bomb shelter was built to protect the museum’s valuable collection. And the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, as it was then called, functioned as an emergency hospital towards the end of the war. In April 1945, the museum was liberated by Canadian troops, who also assisted in the refurbishment of the museum so that it could quickly reopen its doors to the public.  

LRE initiatives
In short, the museum with the world’s second largest Van Gogh collection and the LRE Foundation have more in common than you might initially think. LREF is the organization behind various commemorative projects, such as the Liberation Route Europe, the EU-certified Cultural Route that allows you to walk in the footsteps of the allied forces, and Europe Remembers, the project that, among other things, connects commemorative events and locations throughout Europe via an online portal. These are initiatives that the museum is eager to join.

Geweren tegen gevel Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller_15april1945
Head of marketing at the Kröller-Müller Museum on the partnership

The Kröller-Müller Museum has entered into an agreement with the LRE Foundation for a period of three years. Lies Boelrijk, head of marketing & business development at the Kröller-Müller Museum: ‘The story of the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller during the war years has remained a well-kept secret. And we wish to change that through the partnership with the LRE Foundation. With this collaboration we can convey this story and at the same time use the extensive network of the LRE Foundation to present the Kröller-Müller Museum with its masterpieces and sculpture garden to a large audience that comes to the Airborne Region and should not miss Van Gogh and his contemporaries’.

Director of LRE Foundation on the partnership

With its location in the Airborne Region, the Kröller-Müller Museum is also an interesting partner for the LRE Foundation. Jurriaan de Mol, director of the LRE Foundation in the Netherlands: ‘In a region where commemoration tourism plays an important role, visitors to the Liberation Route Europe and Europe Remembers will appreciate the combination of art, culture and history. The collaboration with the Kröller-Müller Museum is therefore a wonderful addition to our current activities’.

The stories about the Kröller-Müller Museum in the war years can be found in the museum’s Timeline.
Want to know more about the work and activities of the LRE Foundation? Go to the website.