The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. The South of The Netherlands and Margraten was liberated in September 1944, and soon after the liberation the cemetery was opened.

Adoption program

The original idea to adopt graves of the American liberators came up in February of 1945. To this effect the “Burger Comité Margraten” (Citizens Committee Margraten) was formed. The adopters were supposed to regularly visit the adopted grave and, in case this was appreciated, keep in touch with the next of kin in the U.S. The campaign gained massive support. At the first Memorial Day in 1945 every grave was decorated with flowers. The Margraten adoptionprogram is unique in the world. Some graves are in the same family since 1945, and go over from father to children to grandchildren.

Nowadays there are 8301 graves and 1722 names on the Wall of the Missing. All graves and names are adopted. There’s even a waiting list.

The Faces of Margraten

Because of the celebration of 70 years of liberation in 2014, the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven (Foundation United Adopters American War Graves) have started a unique tribute to the thousands who have been buried in the American War Cemetery and Memorial Netherlands in Margraten through the project “The Faces of Margraten.” The project’s main goal is to decorate as many graves and names on the Walls of the Missing with a personal photo of the soldier, to offer a face behind the name. Every two years the event will be held and the pictures will be put next to the graves. In 2018 there were more than 5000 pictures available.

More info

Wikipedia page about the American War Cemetery Margraten
Foundation United Adopters American War Graves
The Faces of Margraten Margraten