Arnhems Oorlogsmuseum 1940-1945. Eef Peeters, the collector

ER Classics Desktop 2022

Many collectors have expanded their motorcycle collection into a museum. Eef Peeters from Arnhem has his collection of motorcycles in his museum. It is now 75 years after the liberation. So his collection in the Arnhem War Museum 1940-1945 is highly topical.

"It's a thing from my childhood. I grew up in the shelter after the second world war '

As every Dutch citizen knows, things went very hot in Arnhem at the end of the two world war. And if you grew up in that area quite soon after the war, then the war was never far away. The then very young Eef Peeters was caught by what had happened in Arnhem and the surrounding area. He started "collecting things." Eef is the founder of what is now a serious (private) museum that is the logical continuation of his collection, which has gotten very out of hand.

Also interesting: Army vehicles and WWII

In addition to a general overview, the Arnhems Oorlogsmuseum 1940-1945 mainly provides an as accurate as possible picture of what happened in Arnhem and the surrounding area during the war years. It is a museum with the charm of British and French war museums. The love and the involvement are bursting. The fact that the museum was born out of passion is still so recognizable that there are hard-core historians who narratively say that the museum is 'boy's work'. The museum is seriously short of that. Because how much more beautiful can your life become? It is a childhood dream come true. Many exhibited things have a unique story. If you come with a few people, you will get a 'guided tour' that will change your view of WWII. But of course we come for the motorcycles.

Eef's first engine was a TWN 200

It did not stop there. In his Arnhem War Museum we find a collection that, in the eyes of the same somewhat grumpy purists from just now, is at least surprising. There is a whole nest of DKWs. An original Dutch NZ 350 confiscated during the war, a NZ 250 that has been in hiding, a 125 cc DKW bought from someone in need of money, 98 cc of the kind used by the postmen at airports. Every motorcycle has its story. The bikes are set up freely or are included in dioramas. "Of course I love my bikes, but it's all about the whole."

Also interesting: Army vehicles from after WWII

“How did I get those motorcycles? I have searched, bought and exchanged them. ” We are standing at a few Zündapp KS 600s. “That's an early one, it has torsion bar suspension. That is a later model. The way I found them and how they were awarded to me is worth a book. And that it contains BMW engine blocks? ” That is not original. “But the previous owner couldn't kickstart them. And the BMW have a starter motor. It's that easy. I still drive it. But I have the original engine blocks included. ”

"I bought the BMW R23 behind it from a Pole at a fair"

"There is still civilian paint under the camouflage paint." The NSU Kettenkrad is another such museum piece and fits well in the Arnhem War Museum. The thing ended up in Romania via Russia after the war. The wanderings then ended in France with a lord of the castle who you would at least call eccentric and a bit more realistic 'crazy'. A neglected, polluted man in the middle of a disorderly collection of 'things'. The Kettenkrad was exchanged for a Harley with sidecar.

“And then I was without a Harley again in the museum,” Eef outlines the concerns of a museum owner

But sometimes things are not too bad: “In 1984 I heard about a shed full of old army engines. At an old farmer somewhere under Nijmegen. The barn was there. But the motorcycles, Match Lessons and Royal Enfields, were all cannibalized and gutted. All in all, I can build a complete Matchless and a complete Royal Enfield. Entirely in the original paint. A BMW R71 combination was difficult to find or too expensive. But an early Russian M72 is 99% identical to such a BMW sidecar combination. And the emblems plus the usage plaques for the BMWs are for sale as 'reference'. Only those in the know may see the difference between a real BMW and my almost real BMW. ”

“If it cannot be done as it should, then it should be done as it can” sighs the owner of the Arnhem War Museum pragmatically

But many of the motorcycles from Eef's collection are authentic. He now has a Harley WLA and a WLC. “The Royal Enfield is also completely original. Never restored, but just moved from an abandoned collection to the museum. ” You can see perfectly how people worked in the field. “Apparently, each tool kit included a very sturdy hammer and apparently you could use it to mount exhaust bends very well. Of course I won't do anything about that Enfield anymore. If I make it more beautiful, it will become less beautiful. ”


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