Photo by F.F. van der Werf/Het Utrechts Archief

During the German occupation, people were forbidden from taking photos in many parts of Utrecht. Pictures from this period are therefore scarce. But once the liberation of the Netherlands became reality in May 1945, amateur and professional photographers could finally load their cameras and start shooting. Many photographers had saved rolls of film specially for the occasion, among them the famous Utrecht photographer F.F. van der Werf. He took some fabulous pictures of this historic moment: a motorbike-rider from the British 49th Reconnaissance Regiment (Polar Bears) on Janskerkhof during the allied parade, with the local Koetsier sisters dolled up for the occasion riding pillion.

In 2020, it will be 75 years since the end of World War II. On the Dutch version of the Visit Utrecht website, you will find loads of interesting stories and archive material about the war years in Utrecht. Some of these are suitable for non-Dutch speakers, such as the visual novel Under the Lime Trees, made by students of Utrecht University. The novel is inspired by events on the Maliebaan during World War II and focuses on Tom de Wit, a member of the Sicherheitzpolizei. He has to support his ill mother in the harsh winter of 1943. What would you have done if you were in his shoes?

On Sunday 3 May, Het Utrechts Archief hosts an online film afternoon on Youtube in which you can see you can see unique images of Utrecht in war time. The explanation will be in Dutch, but the images will speak for themselves.