Arnhem, The Netherlands
The Battle of Arnhem in September 1944 nearly destroyed this pretty Dutch city, which today exists as a popular river cruise port thanks to its convenient location on the River Rhine. With its cobblestone streets and meticulously restored period architecture, Arnhem, located in the eastern portion of The Netherlands, is an excellent starting point for learning about the history related to its namesake battle.
What We Love
Trolley Buses: Arnhem is the only city in The Netherlands to utilize this form of transportation, and it's an easy and cost-effective way to see the sights — so hop aboard.
It's Bike-Friendly: If your legs are feeling up to it, cycling is a terrific way to get around Arnhem. Many river cruise ships offer complimentary bicycles, but if yours doesn't they can be rented in town for a nominal fee.
Best Known For
Airborne Museum "Hartenstein": Formerly the Hotel Hartenstein, this was the headquarters of the First Airborne Division during the Battle of Arnhem. It is now a superb museum featuring original artifacts and a harrowing re-creation of life in Arnhem and Oosterbeek during the battle.
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Who It's Best For
World War II Buffs: The Battle of Arnhem is inexorably linked with modern-day Arnhem, from museums and monuments to moving war memorials and cemeteries.
Café and Pub Lovers: For such a small town, there is a proliferation of cafés and pubs in Arnhem, almost all clustered within easy walking distance of the river cruise dock.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Sites Are Often Crowded. Popular attractions, such as the Airborne Museum, are visited by most river cruise lines — as well as land-based travelers. Things can get a little crazy during the summer months.
It Can Be Emotional: Because of Arnhem’s strong connection with World War II — and the plethora of war cemeteries in the vicinity — a visit here can be prove upsetting.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.