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This is the only large WW2 cemetery for fallen American soldiers on Dutch soil. The cemetery was taken into use during the war based on a temporary right of use, starting from November 1944, shortly after the town of Margraten was liberated. During these first years the cemetery was used to bury the fallen of all nationalities, including German war victims. Most of these victims fell during Operation Marketgarden, the Ardennes Offensive and the Battle of the Ruhr.
In 1946 it contained more than 17,700 American fallen soldiers, more than a thousand Allied soldiers of other nations (the majority being Russian) and clearly separated in a plot under the name of “Enemy Dead” more than 3000 German dead. The cemetery finally got it’s permanent status as an American Military Cemetery in 1947, from which point on the dead of other nationalities were moved. The Russians were reburied at the Russian War Cemetery at Amersfoort and the German fallen at the German War Cemetery Ysselsteyn. More American fallen were brought here from their temporary war graves scattered across Belgium and the Netherlands and parts of West Germany and interred. In 1948 around 10,000 American soldiers were repatriated back to the US.
Nowadays the cemetery holds 8,301 permanent graves. Another eleven American soldiers have remained buried in smaller cemeteries scattered across the Netherlands. The Dutch government has relinquished the 65.5 acres of burial grounds in perpetual loan to the United States out of respect and gratitude.
The Court of Honor
After climbing the steps towards the cemetery you will first pass the Court of Honor. In the center lies a rectangular pond with the Statue of the Weeping Mother standing at the small end of it. The reflection in the water makes her look even more dramatic. Behind her stands the tall memorial tower with inside it the Chapel.
The Walls of the Missing
These walls line the memorial square and show the names of the missing. It’s very impressive as there are over 1700 names listed. The names of those that have been found over time are marked with a rosette at the beginning.
Memorial Tower and Chapel
The Memorial Tower was added to the cemetery from the 1950’s. The structure is more than 30 meters high. Inside it is the memorial Chapel.
Visit Netherlands American War Cemetery Margraten
The cemetery is under the care of the American Battle Monuments Commission and publicly accessible. For more information about visit hours please contact the cemetery’s visitor center.