Drawing attention to facts about the German occupation or remaining artefacts, like ration tickets, is not the only aim of this museum. Its main purpose is to show that World War II had an immense social and emotional influence on people.
The Markt 12 museum shows how people in the Netherlands and in Germany experienced the war and how they reacted to the occupation in their personal life. The museum wants to avoid giving simple answers to a very complex period in history. The story of the war needs to be told so visitors can understand why people made certain choices.
Markt 12, just a commonplace address in the eastern part of Holland, tells that story. A family, comprising father, mother and a few children, once lived here. Here, some people hid in the attic and the entire neighbourhood found shelter in the basement against bomb raids, while at the same time the local German commander confiscated the large living room to set up his office. All the information is captured in the interior of Markt 12.
It is not immediately clear that you’re in an exhibition. Every room has its own theme and a matching interior after the fashion of the occupation years. However, when visitors look a little closer they will learn that there is a lot to discover and their view of all aspects of the war will grow broader. The chairs are decorated with pictures of certain individuals. When you sit down on one of them you’ll get to hear their story. On the radio you’ll hear the queen giving a speech. Draped in the hallway are the coats of a wide range of people. These coats tell the stories of their owners: a collaborator, a profiteer, an NSB member, someone from the resistance and someone who adapted to the German occupiers.
This museum does not exhibit, on the contrary, it hides. What else do you expect from a museum that has hideouts as its main theme?