Not a single inhabitant of the Zwin region and West-Zeeuws-Vlaanderen was spared repression and hardship between 1940 and 1944. This dark period in our history is the main theme of the museum. It is precisely this phase of our local past that we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren, in the hope that such war violence will not repeat itself. The youth must know that freedom has a price, a price that our ancestors paid with hard coin. We must cherish freedom. This important message of peace and tolerance is given daily in the For Freedom Museum.
“Send it to Belgium, To Fred Jones. One day he’s going to start a museum, to tell our story. Why we came, why we bled and sacrificed our young lives!”
These were the words of many Canadian veterans who helped build our collection.
Dennis Jones, Normandy veteran from Crewe/Cheshire (UK) marries a girl from Knokke-Heist. The military uniform that Father Jones wore during his wedding will later form the first uniform of the collection.
1984 - 1994
Danny Jones and Freddy Jones (sons of Dennis Jones) together with Patrick Tiersoonne organize three unique exhibitions in the Scharpoord Cultural Center in Knokke-Heist. Journeys to distant Canada were undertaken together with the late Constant Devroe (author of, among others, 'The last white flag') to interview the commanders of the time and thus to understand the history even more deeply.
A location is being found for this extraordinary project. The municipal school of Ramskapelle with accompanying town hall from 1876 is being restored. The layout and structure of the various scenes is entrusted to the artist Pierre Verbreyt, an authority in the field of museum design.
April 25, 2009
Opening of the For Freedom museum by Minister of National Defense Pieter De Crem, Governor of West Flanders Paul Breyne and Mayor Count Leopold Lippens.
To present our uniforms, we chose to work with mannequins. 30 years of collecting resulted in about 100 of these creations. Most of the mannequins in our museum were made from wax in the 1920s/30s. Their glass eyes and implanted hair give them a unique appearance.
Wax heads that sometimes arrive in a deplorable condition in the For Freedom Museum are restored with craftsmanship by curator Freddy Jones and fashion model stylist Jacqueline Bronneberg. This gives the mannequins a second life in our museum. You restore wax with wax. Repairs to ears and noses are made by applying liquid wax drop by drop and then sculpting a new ear or nose with a coffee spoon, fine blades and especially the warmth of the hands.