Ten personal stories from the Second World War are now connected to their locations in Brabant in an augmented reality app.
Saturday 22 September – In Bevrijdende Vleugels in Best today, Brabant Remembers launched a living history app, in which 30 actors bring ten stories from the Second World War to life, in the places in Brabant that remember the war. With this app, Brabant Remembers makes the impact of the war real in a contemporary way, and allows new generations to be exposed to the dilemmas people faced, placed in the here and now. Thirty parachutists recreated a historic mission in the Airborne region of Brabant, near Best. They recreated the parachute jumps done during Operation Market Garden in 1944: with authentic uniforms and jumping from a C47 (Dakota). This jump forms the content of the last part of the living history app. The app, which is unique in Europe in terms of application, contents and technology, is the start of the Brabant Remembers programme, the pinnacle of which will be in September and October of 2019, the 75th anniversary year of the liberation of the south of the Netherlands.
Brabant Remembers is about stories of individual lives in Brabant that changed forever during WWII. One of the ten stories in the app, John Nasea Jr’s Birthday, takes you to the original drop sites of Operation Market Garden in Son. The liberation of the Netherlands began here in September 1944, with many parachute drops and planes full of war material. John Nasea Jr. was one of those parachutists. He was seriously injured during the landing and was rescued by Berta Roefs and her family on the Helena Hoeve, in the middle of the landing area.
Such a large and province-wide Augmented Reality (AR) production of the Second World War has never been developed before. Every story literally shows the dilemmas of that time, and adds interactivity: as a user of the app you will be confronted with a choice in the story. The ten AR productions all feature 360-degree videos, allowing you to step into the story on the spot in Brabant where it actually happened. The videos play both in front of you and behind you, and every detail has been taken into consideration. The team of no fewer than thirty actors and extras used American, British, Polish and German uniforms, for instance. The 14-year old girl who appears in all the stories as the narrator is called Flo: it’s a small tribute to child minder Florence from the story about George & Ursula. Flo is played by Yfke Wegman, well-known in the Netherlands for her role in a series of children’s films about Mees Kees.
The app uses location-based augmented reality, the same technology used in Pokémon Go. The app also has a gaming element: an interactive passport which allows you to save for a Brabant Remembers pin, which has the form of a red cross. The cross symbolizes the apparently random encounters (crossroads) that led to permanent changes in the lives of many people from Brabant during the Second World War. The combination of the latest AR techniques, and a light version for slightly older smartphones, makes the app accessible for everyone. The app was developed in collaboration with Dutch Rose Media, and is free from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
Personal life-changing stories at the core
Brabant Remembers connects 75 stories of 75 experiences that together lead up to 2019 and 2020, the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the South of the Netherlands. These personal stories paint a different, but also more complete, picture of the war; more than just the well-known facts from the history books.
The stories are brought up to date by bringing the dilemmas from the stories into the present day. They are made visible by clearly marking the locations where they happened – eye witnesses to the events of the war – in the landscape of Brabant. This is how Brabant Remembers ensures that the many stories from the war are shared with a new generation, and responds to growing international interest in the Brabant of the Second World War.
2019 – 2020 – impressive Brabant Remembers programme.
The launch of the app is the start of the Brabant Remembers programme. This culturally-innovative programme consists of large projects that are associated with the universal stories of the war, coupled with (inter)national ambassadors from Brabant, including Rocco Verdult, Social Designer and Theun Mosk, Scenographer. In addition there are collaborations with organisations which strengthen the Brabant Remembers programme. There are also 60 local gems, based on stories from all the municipalities of North Brabant. Together they form a programme that speaks to both local residents and international visitors. From Etten-Leur to England and from Cuijk to Canada.
The Brabant Remembers programme and campaign are an initiative of the Crossroads Brabant ’40 – ’45 Foundation, supported by the Province of North Brabant and the vfonds. Brabant Remembers is a partner of Europe Remembers.