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Succesful Collaboration with Limburg Partners in the Heritage Sector has Ended

CEGESOMA looks back with satisfaction on two years of close cooperation with the Provinciaal Centrum voor Cultureel Erfgoed (PCCE) and local partners in North Limburg. In 2011 and 2012, the Centre supported a regional heritage project on the Second World War in the Campine region of Limburg, contributing both in terms of content and organisation.  At the same time, it has contributed to a larger-scale provincial commemmorative project on the First World War.


 

The Campine Region of Limburg during the Second World War

 

Early 2011, CEGESOMA associated as a scientific partner in the North Limburg project 'Soldatenlaarzen en kauwgom. Globaliseringserfgoed van de Tweede Wereldoorlog in de Limburgse Kempen'. The main objective of this project was to make an inventory of all material and immaterial traces of the Second World War, and to transmit it in an original manner to a wide public. The project also served as a catalyst to create an intercommunal cooperation around cultural heritage in the region. In this respect, CEGESOMA was not a coordinator, but rather an expert and advisor. It helped to draw the outlines of the part on oral history, which resulted in some fifty interviews with eyewitnesses.

 

Our principal task was an exploratory research in the sources and secondary literature. The study of the literature has led to an easy-reference heritage and source guide on the Second World War in the Campine region. The guide opens with an introduction on pre-war North Limburg and some historiographical considerations, and contains information accessible to the wide public on several aspects of the occupation of the region, from the letter A of Achttiendaagse Veldtocht (eighteen days' campaign) to the W of Winterhulp (Secours d'hiver-Winter Aid). Through thirty-four entries, the guide traces the history of a region that remained relatively unscathed from the war in economic and material terms, but which, because of the events during the last year of the occupation, bears the traces of terror, conflict and mourning till this day.

 

The tagline of the Limburg commemmorative project reflects the wish of the provincial authorities to privilege the little, more personal stories of the First World War.
The tagline of the Limburg commemmorative project reflects the wish of the provincial authorities to privilege the little, more personal stories of the First World War.

The Provincial Commemmorative Program

 

In 2012, in close collaboration with the Provinciaal Centrum voor Cultureel Erfgoed (PCCE), CEGESOMA has contributed to the elaboration of the commemmorative programme of Limburg with regard to the First World War. The province of Limburg lay at the heart of the occupied territory. With the slogan « Little histories in a Great War », Limburg wants, during a period stretching between 2014 and 2018, to focus on ordinary stories of ordinary people. The provincial tagline (see illustration) refers to the daisy sent from the front in Genk by private Jean D'Hulst to his fiancée Madeleine on 2 September 1918. The daisy stands as a symbol for the link between the front, where the war was raging and toward which all eyes were (and still are) turned, and the home front, where women, men and children bore the consequences of the military occupation and cruelly missed their brothers, sons and fiancés.

 

The commemmorative programme in Limburg was launched on 22 February 2013 during a provincial one-day debate-meeting in Leopoldsburg. On this occasion, a guide to sources listing the principal archive funds and literature per municipality, was presented. CEGESOMA participated to this programme and provided the information on the provincial archives of Limburg, kept in Hasselt. In the afternoon, the participants had the opportunity to participate in several workshops. CEGESOMA contributed to the elaboration of the afternoon programme and also organised a workshop on war monuments.

 

Our collaboration with the various Limburg partners has been very fruitful and we wish the North Limburg local history organisations and administrations every success in turning the intercommunal collaboration into a more permanent one. Finally, we wish the PCCE an abundant harvest of 'Little Stories in a Great War'.

 

Karel Strobbe

 

26 / 2 / 2014

 

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