Interview to Jurriaan de Mol, Deputy Director, Liberation Route Europe
1. Can you tell us more about Liberation Route Europe?
Liberation Route Europe (LRE) is a continuously growing remembrance trail that connects important milestones of modern European history. It links the main regions along the advance of the Western Allied Forces, from southern England to the beaches of Normandy, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Hurtgen Forest and on to Berlin. The route then continues to the Polish city of Gdansk, where a democratic revolution for overcoming the division of Europe took places nearly two generations later.
In southern Europe, Italy has just joined the Liberation Route, from Sicily to the Gustav and Gothic Lines; new additions to the route also include the Provence region in southern France and the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic.
LRE gives people the chance to discover and experience the route that the Allied Forces took during the final phase of the World War II.
It combines innovative and sustainable tourism products with offers created in cooperation with our international partners. (e.g. museums, tourism boards, the guide-network, tour operators etc…). In 2019, the Liberation Route Europe became an official cultural route of the Council of Europe.
2. What is the focus of Liberation Route Europe?
In 2020 we are focusing on commemorating the end of World War II and the liberation of National Socialism in 1944-1945. These commemorations will be a moving tribute to the veterans and eyewitnesses, who become fewer and fewer with each passing year. It is our aim to create meaningful commemorations and events, with a special focus on youth engagement. We are using the additional exposure given by the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II to reach an even wider audience; for LRE this is an opportunity for reinvention, to create new ways of storytelling, new exhibitions, tools and commemorations that combine local, regional and national traditions with new innovative elements.
On top of these activities we will be inaugurating in 2020 a new Long Distance Hiking Trail, stretching 3.000 km from London to Berlin. This Hiking Trail has its roots in what we have already developed: a network that connects places, stories, countries and people. We will be able to use the many preexisting multi-perspective storylines in different languages as well as our established online presence to make the Liberation Route a physical and tangible part of the European landscape.
Experiencing the story of the route does not require books or complex tools, it requires nothing more than walking in the footsteps of those who went before.
3. What do you look to gain from ETOA’s membership?
Liberation Route Europe wants to reach out to international tourism professionals to create awareness for this form of Remembrance Tourism. LRE hopes to strengthen ties with existing partners as well as to find new partners in the travel trade industry to develop a cooperation and to spread knowledge on the topic of Remembrance Tourism.
Liberation Route Europe is a public-private funded organization with offices in Brussels (Belgium) and Utrecht (The Netherlands). LRE is active in 10 European countries as well as in the USA and Canada. (www.liberationroute.com) / (www.europerembers.com).