Netherlands American Cemetery

Maastricht, Netherlands

Netherlands American Cemetery

Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial (Dutch: Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Margraten) is a Second World War military war grave cemetery, located in the village of Margraten, 10 km (6.2 mi) east of Maastricht, in the most southern part of the Netherlands. The cemetery, the only American one in the Netherlands and dedicated in 1960, contains a constantly varying number above 8,000 American war dead and covers 65.5 acres (26.5 ha). It is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

The cemetery was created in November 1944 under the leadership of Lt. Col. Joseph Shomon of the 611th Graves Registration Company, as the Ninth United States Army pushed into the Netherlands from France and Belgium. As the war was coming to an end, it was expected that the cemetery would have to be built twice in the following years: first to accommodate what would become more than 20,000 dead of the last months of the conflict, including enemy dead, then to what would become a reduced population of 8,000 as other permanent cemeteries were opened, bodies were returned to America at the wish of American families, and enemy dead were moved to their home countries. At the outset, it was determined that the cemetery would congregate war dead within 600 km of Margraten with the goal that no Americans would remain buried in enemy territory.

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