Restoration of Amersfoort (Oud Leusden) General Cemetery
16 May 2012
A year-long project to restore and renovate a war graves plot in
a cemetery in the Netherlands has been completed ahead of
schedule, thanks to the hard work of staff in the
Commission's Northern Europe Area.
The main problem in the Amersfoort (Oud Leusden)
General Cemetery was the trees - precious in the Netherlands,
and usually the subject of preservation orders.
Over the years they had grown to a size that made them a risk to
the graves. The roots were moving the headstones and disrupting the
beams in which the headstones were set. The headstones were
becoming dirty and it was impossible to grow anything under the
After the necessary discussions with the Dutch authorities -
which were protracted because of the tree preservation issues - the
work could begin.
During the course of the project 325 cubic metres of earth -
weighing 246 tonnes - was moved out, and 240 tonnes moved in to
replace it. 1300 square metres of turf was laid. The cemetery is in
a woodland area so rabbits are a big problem. 300 metres of
rabbit-proof cages were used to protect the new plants, and 1000
heathers - which the rabbits don't like! - were planted.
The headstones were all taken out and - once the contractors had
removed the trees, and the concrete beams had been replaced - they
were all put back again according to the minutely-detailed cemetery
The Commission's Horticulture Manager in Northern Europe, Chris
Griffiths-Hardman, said the work was completed two weeks ahead of
schedule because of hard work and great cooperation between the
gardening team and the works team.
"The Horticulture Supervisor Scott Cumming and the Works
Supervisor Tony Edwards made sure this was a properly
cross-discipline project. We're delighted with the way it
Have a look at the album of before-and-after photographs (on our Facebook
The Amersfoort (Oud Leusden) contains the graves of 216 Second
World War airmen, from the RAF, the RAF Volunteer Reserve, the
Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the
Royal New Zealand Air Force. Many were killed when their aircraft
were shot down on their way to or back from bombing raids over