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Living and working together in the Bakkum Sperrgebiet

Time period: 1939-1945



Realisation project:

Caleidoscoop Film (productie); P.M. (Pauline) van Vliet (interview), Caleidoscoop Film


Timeframe: 1939-1945
Location: Bakkum, Castricum
Number of interviews: 6 (in 8 delen)


Thematic collection: Erfgoed van de Oorlog



Interviews can be seen via:


During the German occupation, the Castricum dune area and the village of Bakkum were declared a Sperrgebiet and therefore not accessible to ordinary citizens. Nevertheless, Dutch people did stay in the area. A number of them worked in the dune area and there were also farmers and market gardeners in the North Holland village of Bakkum to ensure the food supply. Since the German defence line was built in the dunes – as part of the Atlantic Wall – there were many German soldiers in the area.


Six interviews (2009) with former dune workers and with a former German soldier who was stationed in the area shed light on how the Dutch and Germans lived and worked together in the Bakkum dune area. What image did both parties have of each other? And what were their views on ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?


Unlike collaborators, the dune workers did not voluntarily work together with the Germans. Because the dune workers were forced to live intensively with the occupier, they were forced to determine their attitude towards the occupier more than most other Dutch people. The interviews reveal that ordinary citizens were confronted with numerous moral dilemmas in their daily dealings with the Germans. Dune workers and other Dutch people who worked in the area had to deal with both the friendly and the cruel sides of the German military.