The archaeology of the Second World War has only recently become of interest and this place, Melick, is revealing some of the historic events that took place here. Download the app and get face-to-face on site with our archaeologist. He tells you the history and the importance of this spot through most modern virtual technology.
This makes you feel as if you transform into the past.
This is where you’ll find some of the few (still visible) remains of the Rur-Stellung on Dutch territory. It was part of the expansion of the German Westwall to fortify German positions ahead of the Ruhr area during the time that the front ran here in 1945. The Westwall stretched along the Rur river, passing in front of and straight through Melick and from Roermond deep into Germany.
As early as November, Melick was heavily shelled by Allied artillery and it remained on the front line for more than a month. There was heavy fighting.
The Rur-Stellung was constructed with forced labour made up of East European and local labourers, and the German military occupier. It was partially led by the Organisation Todt, a German construction organisation responsible for deploying civilians as a labour force. The Rur-Stellung was constructed late 1944 and was operational from the 29th of January 1944 up to and including the first of March 1945. The system of trenches and several accommodations have been relatively well preserved and are still visible. With remote sensing technology, traces of a subterranean tank moat have been revealed.
The Second World War has had a huge influence on our modern-day society. The presence of large numbers of exploited forced labourers has had a large influence on how the Second World War is remembered and commemorated in this region. Exploitation is still a topical subject, considering things such as the deployment of child soldiers in conflict situations and modern-day slavery in low wage countries.