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My name is Nick, I was born on January 16 in 1980 and I live in the beautiful little village of Linkhout (part of Lummen in Belgium). I work as an administrative assistant at the town hall of Beringen since July 1, 2009. I'll be working my final day there on August 9, 2013, then I'm going for a completely different challenge.|
My hobbies are watching football, attending concerts and rock festivals, webdesign and gaming on my computer, making trips, bike riding, have a nice beer now and then and off course expanding my World War 1 and 2 knowledge.
I visited some museums and historical places when I was a little kid, especially in Belgium off course, but that was a long time before my interest became this big.
Everything started during my holiday to Normandy in 2007. I went camping there for a week with my girlfriend and it's very hard to ignore the historical importance of this region and not to visit any of these places, though we didn't plan this before the trip. We visited the Centre Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer and drove over the Pegasus Bridge, which I recognised from the PC-game Call of Duty. The most impressive was the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. I must admit this is one of the places which convinced me of expanding my knowledge in the subject. I returned to this place every year since then.
We returned to Normandy in 2008 and my interest off course got bigger. We visited some more places and I also started expanding my, in the meantime, very large DVD- and book collection regarding both World Wars.
By now I have visited many museums, cemeteries and other historical sites in Normandy. In 2012 I went there at the beginning of June for the first time, during the D-Day commemorations. It's absolutely worth a visit in this period as you can now still meet some of the veterans that fought for our freedom and many ceremonies are held too. There also is a lot of re-enactment and you meet many pleasant people with common interests.
Another one of my favourite regions is Flanders Fields. I returned there for the first time in 2010 since a while when we visited the Yser tower in Diksmuide, the In Flanders Fields museum and Ramparts Cemetery inYpres and the Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passchendale. My interest in World War I was encouraged instantly.
With the upcoming commemoration of 100 years World War I, lots of activities and ceremonies are being prepared, and I definitely will be there when this all occurs.
The most impressive visits I did there were the Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passchendale, the Christmas Truce in Ploegsteert, the Ploegsteert Wood cemeteries, Sanctuary Woods and off course the Last Post in Ypres, something you definitely should attend.
Although I visited a lot of places here, there is still so much to discover, but I'll work on that in the future.
I first returned to the battlefield of the Battle of the Bulge in 2010 when I went camping in Burg-Reuland with some friends. Since then I'm also fascinated about the events that occurred here back then. In 2012 we did a tour with an excellent and qualified guide here, and that year I also went to the Nuts weekend for the first time, where I took part in the 35th History Walk.
Some of the most impressive visits I did were the Bois Jacques and it's foxholes, the Indians monument and the bison's in the fields, the Nuts Cave and the Mardasson monument.
The region has a wealthy historic value, you won't get bored here soon.
One of my personal highlights in life is the co-foundation of our War Visitors Linkhout association. At the beginning of July we were at the Linkhout fair and were discussing about the trips I made in the past and we should do this together more often. We were determined in starting our own association and at the beginning of August we went searching for the Lancaster monument in the Goeren in Linkhout. We discovered it was in a very ruinous condition and made it our purpose to renovate it. We also received a book about the crash the Lancaster bomber made, written by Rudy Kenis. That week we also had our first meeting. Our first event was a recital about the crash in the Goeren by Rudy Kenis. There were 130 interested people present there who were all fascinated by the story told by Rudy with the help of his pictures. We also did some successful trips too.
In May 2012 we had the honour to welcome Mr. Alex Jenkins and his wife Pauline in Linkhout. He was the pilot of the Lancaster that was shot above Linkhout, he was the sole survivor. This was an incredible experience which I'll never forget in my life. It was a true honour to have met these two lovely people.
Some more of the impressive places I visited where Anne Franks house in Amsterdam, the fortresses of Eben-Emael and Breendonk in Belgium, the Operation Market Garden commemorations, and the one that made the most impression of them all; the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane in the Limousin region of France. On June 10, 1944 the village was completely destroyed. 642 people, mainly inhabitants of the village, were murdered, men, women and children. All houses and buildings were set afire. The village has been left like it was on that day in 1944. When you're in the area, do not hesitate to visit this place.
Through the years I got fascinated by the military cemeteries. By now I've visited many. I hope to make a list soon of those I've visited so I can put them on my personal website.
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