Dutch Nazi rally site “Muur van Mussert” to be restored

Mussert's wall. Photo: Roger Veringmeier via Wikimedia Commons

A single surviving wall that was part of a huge complex used as a focal point for rallies by the Nazi-affiliated NSB party, is to be restored and made into a place of remembrance, ending a six year tussle over the future of the monument.

The contentious Muur van Mussert, named after the NSB leader Anton Mussert, stands on private land in Lunteren, near the town of Ede. Built in the1930s, it is the only remaining NSB structure in the Netherlands.

Owner Roderick Zoons wanted to use the site to expand his campsite and asked Ede council in November 2017 to grant him a licence to demolish the wall.

Some 30 prominent historians, professors and authors wrote a letter to culture minister Ingrid van Engelshoven asking her to save the wall from demolition by declaring it a national monument, which she did in 2018.

The wall ‘serves as a reminder of a dark period which is nevertheless an integral part of our history, like the concentration camps at Vught, Amersfoort and Westerbork,’ they wrote at the time.

Later plans to build a remembrance centre at the site fell through. But now the owner and the council have agreed the wall will be restored to become a public part of the park, with educational and recreational facilities and a “playful and gentle” work of art.

How much the plans will cost is not yet clear, Ede alderman Peter de Pater told the AD. “We are putting it to the private sector to see what their ideas are, and we are looking at subsidies,” De Pater said.

De Pater hopes the plan will be finalised in next six months. “It really is a matter of do or die now. If this doesn’t work, nothing will,” he said.

Park owner  Zoons said he liked the plans. “I was born and bred here and that wall has been here ever since I can remember. Everybody cursed the thing and wanted it gone, but lately there has been talk of keeping it and changing its purpose. That is a positive thing,” he said.

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