On Saturday March 23 I had the distinct pleasure of visiting one of the best military museums I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot) with Riet Hanssens from De Krijger. Near the Belgian coastal resort of Knokke in an area liberated by Highland Divisions of the Canadian forces in late 1944 during Operation Switchback lies a former school now converted into the superb For Freedom Museum.
Curated by a passionate and enthusiastic Anglo Belgian, Freddy Jones, the museum offers brilliantly made scenes from the Second World War. On entering you are confronted by a series of German troops (restored 1930’s mannequins with extraordinarily life-like features) and on the tour through the collection by Canadians and British. There’s a fantastic recreation of a south of England pub of the war years, A superb depiction of the crossing of one of the local canals as the Canadians strove to drive the Germans out of the area.
All in all this is extremely well done. Freddy Jones was a genial host and when you visit (which you must – the museum is 10 minutes from Zeebrugge and only 15 minutes from Bruges) you can be sure of a warm welcome. You have the option of going round on your own, but I recommend using one of the guides to show you around the exhibits.
Here are some views from the museum’s website. They give a flavor, but don’t do justice to how exceptionally well done the presentation is.