A large part of the collection was gathered by Mr. Minus Goud from Krabbendijke. Over many years he collected uniforms, helmets, weapons and medals. After his passing, Andries Looijen took over and continued adding valuable objects to the collection. When Andries acquired the collection in 2011, he immediately had in mind to use the old barn attached to his home as an exhibition space for the many military objects. The barn was renovated and in February 2020 the museum was relocated to a temporary site. The collection has many French objects that emphasise a relatively unknown French battle that took place in May in the year 1940 in the Dutch province of Zeeland. You can visit the museum and see uniforms (224RI & 271RI) from the French who fought in Zeeland, weapons, medals, old papers and even a Red Cross uniform worn by a nurse, who cared for the wounded French in the St. Joanna hospital in Goes. Next to that they found also other objects of the French soldiers during the war years in the Netherlands. The collection guides the visitor through the war years in chronological order. It is an impressive experience for young and old. Besides that, we often organise Battlefield Tours, visit the official French cemetery and tell the story in our historic museum.
The French Field of Honour
In Kapelle is situated the official French Field of Honour, where many French soldiers died during the Second World War. In the text below you will encounter some facts about this field of honour:
- 58 French soldiers were buried in the general cemetery of Kapelle on 17 May 1940.
- 3 were buried on 18 May 1940.
- 5 were originally buried in the garden of the widow Wisse Nijssen, later transferred to the general cemetery of Kapelle.
- 1 was originally buried on territory of the former municipality of Yerseke.
- 8 were originally buried in the former municipality of Schore, later transferred to Kapelle.
- 4 were originally buried in the general cemetery of Schore, later transferred to Kapelle.
5 soldiers were killed in battle in Wemeldinge on the 16th of May 1940 and buried in the general cemetery. Reburied on March 22nd of the year 1941 and transferred to Kapelle or repatriated after the war. In 2020 more soldiers have been found and identified and reburied. On 16 May 1940, therefore, 84 French soldiers were killed in the current municipality of Kapelle.
5 were killed in action in Wemeldinge on 16 May 1940 and were buried there in the general cemetery; reburied on 22 March 1941 and transferred to Kapelle or repatriated after the war. In 2020 a number of soldiers have been identified and reburied.
So, 84 French soldiers were killed in the actual municipality of Kapelle on May 16th in the year of 1940.
The path to our new Museum
Memorial 40-45 Kapelle is a memorial museum that is part of the Vitality Foundation. We have been telling this remarkable story of the Second World War since 2012. Focusing on the part that the French armed forces played in the Netherlands and the experiences of the general population of Kapelle during this period. We will be doing this from our temporary museum situated at the Goessestraatweg 6.
After more than 10 years we have grown so vast in objects and documents that we need to expand. We cannot afford to receive large groups anymore in our limited space. That is why we want to open a new museum next to the official French War Cemetery in Kapelle, the one and only French War Cemetery in the Netherlands.
Thanks to a new opening we can link the storytelling and commemoration in the best way possible. You would not find a better place to tell the stories behind these graves. The policy plan of 2017 has been updated for the period up to 2023. To make this happen we need your financial support. Will you help us to continue telling this remarkable story?