Battle of Arnhem hotel up for demolition

POSTED: 08/4/16 11:40 AM

OOSTERBEEK – A Dutch hotel which played a significant role in Operation Market Garden in World War II is about to be demolished, despite protests by veterans, historians and locals, broadcaster NOS reported. Hotel Dreijeroord in Oosterbeek – known by the allies as the White Hotel – was the scene of a three day struggle between soldiers of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and the German occupiers in September 1944 during the Battle of Arnhem.

Hundreds of British servicemen were buried in the grounds of the hotel and their bodies were moved to the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek after the war. Today the roof of the chalet-style building is leaking, the garden is overgrown and the white plasterwork is turning green. The site has been bought by property developer Amvest which plans to demolish it to build a small-scale nursing home. Private homes will be built in the gardens.

‘We see no reason to keep the building or the façade,’ Amvest director Wienke Bodewes told NOS. ‘Most locals support us.’ The local council also supports demolition, arguing that the building is not listed. An application to demolish it will be accepted, Jasper Verstand from the municipal council of Renkum said.

The hotel stopped accepting guests in 2014. Historian Wiljo Pas is campaigning to have the hotel, which dates back to 1847, preserved, and says it is a major draw to people interested in the Battle for Arnhem. ‘Dreijeroord is a place of pilgrimage,’ he said. ‘People want to visit a place and touch it… so they can feel what really happened.’ Pas has launched a petition in an effort to have the hotel preserved.

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