1945 onwards

After the German army surrendered, the German soldiers that had occupied the western Netherlands were interned and put to work removing mines from the coastal area. They then returned to Germany. Initially, all the Germans were sent to Den Helder where they were put on ships to Wilhelmshaven.


The ships were too small to accommodate so many, so Den Helder was full of Germans. Some of them marched over the Afsluitdijk to Germany. 70,000 German military men left.  To ease the burden on Den Helder, the decision was made to transport German military men from Hook of Holland, too.


Large parts of the Dutch coast were left in ruins and this was also the case with Den Helder. Although the damage on the Wadden islands was not nearly as bad, the war had clearly changed the islands' landscape.