It didn’t do Dreyeroord, The White House, any good, when the township of Renkum did not take any action after making and publicizing a list of martial monuments in 2004. In a new coalition plan, the list gets another chance.
The martial list was meant to protect a variety of buildings and objects which played a role in the 2nd World War
But after the list was established, no action was taken to actually determine the objects as martial. A building like The White House could not be protected as a monument. To be on a list of monuments, a system of points is used because, like a spokesperson of the township in 2016 said: “You can not simply put every old building on that list.”
The White House was rebuild and changed a lot during the years followed after the war, to make it to the list of monuments. But in 2004 the city decided that The White House and many other buildings and objects still needed protection. As martial monument the particular object can not be demolished.
Hotel Dreyeroord played a big role during Operation Market Garden. It was part of the perimeter and mainly the 7th battalion Kings Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) fought heavily in and around the hotel.
It was a battle within the Battle of Arnhem: The Battle of the White House and in the years after the war, it became a place of memorial for veterans and their family. Warmly welcomed by the Family van der Straaten whom possessed the hotel till 2016.
So the surprise was huge, when the news came out in 2016 that after the sale, The White House would be demolished. This led to storm of indignation and several actions which unfortunate, did not led to preservation.
But this ‘Second Battle of The White House’ did lead to a new design from the new owners. After the demolition a new building will rise which will look just like The White House as it did before the war. The new building, which will be a house for people who suffer from dementia, will be called Dreyeroord again.
After the elections a new coalition plan is made for 2018 till 2022 and in the plan is written that the coalition will make policy to preserve the so called martial monuments from WW2.
After questions, it was confirmed, all martial object on the list from 2004 wil be identified again and the (remaining) objects will get a martial status.
Happy, but not surprised
Wiljo Pas, chairman of the Foundation Preservation WW2 Heritage Gelderland (BWO2EG) and starter from this big protest to preserve The White House is happy.
“Good news, but it doesn’t surprise me. From a Township who claims the Airborne history is highly valuated, you couldn’t expect anything else.”
“It’s too bad The White House needed to go down first, but all the action and the disgust around the world after the news came that the building would be demolished, must definitely be the base for these new coalition plans.”
“I do hope that this time it will not stay at beautiful promises. We will monitor the process and we are curious for the ‘experts’ who will determine which object is martial, and which is not. If needed, we are more than happy to offer our expertise.”
The Foundation BWO2EG originated from the work-group Preserve Dreyeroord after it appeared that besides The White House, more objects were found not to be protected against demolition.
( Click on the picture at the top to see the complete list from 2004, in Dutch)