One of the things I (Richard) really wanted to do while in Western Europe was to visit as many Canadian war memorial sites as I could. First stop, Apeldoorn in the Netherlands. Apeldoorn is host to the Man with two hats.
In the City of Apeldoorn, The Man With Two Hats monument symbolizes many dualities. The two hats in and of themselves represent a time when to come through the war with one hat was something of a feat. It represents the end of the horrors of war but in the same vein the peace and freedom that continue to elude many countries today. It symbolizes the two countries of Canada and the Netherlands. The outstretched arms symbolize the liberation of the Netherlands and also the reaching out of country to country, people to people. The visage, one of sadness and deep meditation and also one of serenity and peace. With the donation of this monument, the Netherlands pays a lasting tribute to Canada. A statue identical to this one stands in Ottawa, Ontario. The twin monuments symbolically link Canada and the Netherlands, forever close friends.
The monument, which was sculpted by Dutch artist Henk Visch, is made of bronze and measures 4.6 metres. Entitled “The Man with Two Hats” (De man met de twee hoeden), it symbolizes the historic bonds between Canada and the Netherlands.
This was just the first of a few Canadian war memorials to come. I don’t know how my emotions will be as I / we experience these, but I have to say that even today I could feel my emotions coming to the surface. I am eager to share these with you as we will be continuing our journey through Belgium and France.
The translation of the plaque below reads: This tree was planted on December 29, 1945 by Lieutenant General G. G. Simonds, Commander of the Canadian army corps that liberated the Netherlands. At the time I took this picture I didn’t know what the translation was so I didn’t take a picture of the tree. Trust me, it is a beautiful tree.
More of the Man With Two Hats.