I would prefer it if there was no war at all in the world. But I am a ‘war traveller’. A war – history traveller to be exact.
My father was only 9 years old when his neighbours were executed in their home during the second world war. As a small boy, he did not understand what was going on but he was terrified.
When he had children of his own, he started to share his experiences with his children. I was the youngest of three and listened with an unknown passion to his stories. I saw my brother joining the Navy and my other brother in the Dutch army where my father has served too.
Inspired by the stories of my family, I started to read as many books as possible and articles about the history of the first and second world Wars. We watched the documentaries together. When I would have a child, I will teach him about the history too as my father did.
In 2005 my son was born. I lost my wife only two days after his birth. A difficult time in our family. My son was born with the Russel Silver Syndrome and needed special care. For a few years, I forgot about war history. It was a difficult period taking care of my son and having a job in ICT that asked a lot of my mental power.
While my son grew up, my interest in war history returned. I decided to visit the battlefields with him and share my passion. See the pictures below:
I will never forget my first time in Verdun. I was amazed at how much there was to visit. So many monuments, cemeteries, museums, and trenches. One week was not enough! I got caught by the personal stories of the young men fighting on the battlefields from all over the world. The many lives that were lost fighting for only a few square metres of ground. The heart-breaking letters they sent to their families.
Year after year I visited the battlefields and created maps and routes that were also used by my friends.
Still taking care of my son by myself, I found out I was about to lose my job. Due to the reorganization of the company, there was no longer a job available. To find a new job, they offered me the help of a job coach. Her first question was:
‘Tell me what inspires you every day’?
The freedom of being a traveller, not being stuck in a company working from 9 to 5 and having the freedom to do what inspires me!
We tried to figure out what exactly could be that way of living. The answer came rather quickly: I want to write travel guides, in which I can be of help to others who want to visit these areas and make sure those soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom will never be forgotten.
Her second question:
‘tell me how you can do that’?
By visiting all those former battlefields, reading the stories, talk with historians, locals and museum owners. I want to combine all that into a compact text which, together with photos and a detailed map, creates a very comprehensive travel guide. This travel guide is perfect for navigation and visiting the battlefields.
It would take a lot of time, money and dedication but it would be worth it! Also, I needed to be my own publisher so that I would have all the freedom to create exactly what I set out to do. The downside of that would be that I could not make use of a network of contacts and distributors but create it all myself. So, that had to be done!
From there, I started to write travel guides for Ypres, Verdun, Somme, Marne and the Vosges. I publish them myself and have created a network of historian friends who share this same passion, along with establishing contacts with museums and tourist information offices. They all supported me in writing these guides. I am so grateful to them!
The travel guides will guide you through the battlefields of Belgium and France, from the Belgium coast to the Swiss border including the Ypres Salient, Somme, Marne, Argonne, Verdun, Saint-Mihiel and the Vosges. In 2022 I made a detailed map of Verdun and the area. This map can be used separately but also in combination with the Verdun Travel Guide. Just like the travel guides it has webpage extensions and GPS coordinates to facilitate navigation. I hope you will travel to the battlefields and share your stories with us, your family and your friends. You can send your photos and travel experience to be shared on our platform of Facebook to info@war-travel
- At the age of 88, my father still watches documentaries and follows my adventures visiting all the battlefields closely.
- The job coach also introduced me to her friend who was very interested in the second world war. We are now travelling along the Western Front and Normandy with our camper and got married! You can follow our adventures through YouTube by clicking on this link: (available per March 2023)
My father visited a Canadian war museum in the Netherlands