Ysselsteyn, Netherlands – I

In September 2015, my wife I and came back from a trip to The Hague. On the way, we stopped at the Ysselsteyn German War Cemetery. According to the War Graves Commission; it is the (physically) largest German War Cemetery on the planet. 31,598 graves, most of them single graves, make it a huge and sad place. When entering the cemetery, it’s not possible to see the other side.
Graves for one serviceman only are not very common for German War Cemeteries. The first GWC I visited was in Sandweiler, Luxembourg. Many graves have six names engraved. Before Ysselsteyn, Andilly in France was the largest I visited. Here, 33,123 fallen rest in peace.

American and British readers will be surprised seeing that these cemeteries are nothing like theirs. What I like about the German sites is that they are unique. Ysselsteyn caught me off guard when I noticed the enormous amount of crosses. Sometimes you don’t have crosses (see Langemark), at times there are mass graves (especially the WW1 cemeteries), and for some cemeteries, you have to drive out into the wilderness to find the hidden sites. Nothing fancy, no golden gates. To me, they teach that war isn’t pretty. As a serviceman, I look at those locations differently than the regular tourist.

I found the photos on an iPhone 6 backup and edited them with the Nik Collection. I will upload more photos after the weekend. In around two weeks, I will visit some other military cemeteries in Europe, including Andilly and Sandweiler, where I will take some more photos. Hopefully, with my new camera.

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