Zuidlaren 14 April 2019: Today ARS Website visited the second day of the event with historic army vehicles in Zuidlaren as part of the operation Amherst, 74 years on, organised by the foundation Bevrijdingsfestival Amherst Zuidlaren, in cooperation with various associations and the Ministry of Defence. Operation Amherst was the code name of the allies for a command raid on 7 and 8 April 1945 to liberate Drenthe 1945 in preparation for the Canadian attack on Groningen, during the Second World War.
French paratroopers were part of the SAS, the British military Special Air Service. They had to secure traffic junctions and bridges in Drenthe and Groningen in Operation Amherst. In this way Canadian troops could quickly move to the city of Groningen. The operation was reasonably successful, although it did not go entirely according to plan and 33 French paratroopers were killed in Drenthe.
In Zuidlaren we saw demonstrations and displays of the Ministry of Defense on the Brink, Vehicle encampment of historic vehicles at the Ekkelkamp and a mock-battle by re-enactors in the "Battle Zone".
Since the event was held in Zuidlaren, a reference to the psychiatric hospital in Dennenoord could not be missing. Unfortunately we could not visit the temporary exhibition about Amherst (the door was closed), but through the window we could take this picture of a nurse. During the Second World War the Noorder Sanatoruim and Dennenoord had a hard time. Already in 1941 the Noorder Santorium was occupied by the Germans. All patients went to Dennenoord. Everything went on there. Few people knew that there were people hiding under the floor of the launderette.

In March 1945 the Germans wanted to use the buildings of Dennenoord as a hospital for their soldiers. All 528 patients went by train to Franeker in Friesland. But first they had to walk a long way to the station of Vries. The people who couldn't walk were helped by farmers in the neighbourhood by horse and cart. It was a hard, long walk and everyone was scared. After four months of sleeping on the straw in overcrowded buildings in Franeker, the patients could return to Dennenoord.