Alderman Evert Weys unveiled the commemorative sign at the restored bridge foundations on Friday. The concrete bases of the bridge pillars have recently been restored by volunteers and made visible again. (Text: Han Verbeem, photos: T. van Eekelen)
BERGEN-OP-ZOOM – The restored foundations of the former Zoom Bridge have been recognizable as a war memorial since Friday morning. Alderman Evert Weys revealed the information board, which is placed at the foot of the former bridge. The structure itself was blown up by the Germans during the October days of 1944 to stop the advancing Canadian troops.
After the war it was decided to place a new bridge a hundred meters to the east, which is only accessible to cyclists. The original remains disappeared under the sand and until recently were no longer visible. Until a group of volunteers decided to bring the concrete bases back into view.
Fighting at the Zoomdam
The destroyed Zoom Bridge was built in the 1930s as an employment project during the then economic crisis and connected the Van Overstratenlaan with the Tuinderspad. Between 27 and 30 October 1944 there was heavy fighting between the Canadian occupiers and the German troops who had entrenched themselves behind the north side of the Zoom where the border with Halsteren was at that time. While the rest of Bergen op Zoom was already liberated, dozens of people were still killed and wounded.
According to Weys, it is no longer possible to rebuild the original bridge and it has an important significance for society as a commemorative sign. "The foundations are a witness to the war. I find it impressive," he says. Those who want to view the bridge foundations and the commemorative sign must descend to the banks of the Zoom. This is tens of meters lower than the street surface.