Hungerwinter, food and famine: New exhibition at Special Collections, Forum Library

Published on
February 10, 2020

Due to the corona measures at WUR Library the exhibition is closed until the end of March.

The exhibition

Hunger Winter: Food and Famine is the new exhibition of the Special Collections of Wageningen University & Research - Library.

It focuses on the last winter of World War II in the Netherlands, when 20.000 people died of starvation. The exhibition was strongly inspired by the book Hongerwinter by Dr. Ingrid de Zwarte, assistant professor at the Rural and Environmental History Group. The exhibition of books, posters, aerial photographs and leaflets is on display until 29 May 2020.

75 years of freedom

In 2020, we commemorate World War II in the Netherlands and our liberation 75 years ago. The armistice between Germany, the Netherlands and the Allied Forces was signed in Wageningen. Wageningen organises a lot of activities this year. Wageningen University & Research Library is contributing to the festivities with an exhibition on the Hunger Winter, 1944-1945, during which more than 20,000 people died.

The Hunger Winter of 1944-1945

The last winter of the occupation was extremely harsh for the major cities in the west of the Netherlands. These cities lacked food and transportation, plus they experienced and extremely cold winter. Aerial photographs taken by the 1st Canadian Army show the devastation to the infrastructure.

The exhibition focuses on the strategies that the Dutch government, individual civil servants, farmer organisations and civilians developed to reduce the impact of the Hunger Winter. The lessons learned in World War I played a crucial role in organizing the food distribution at this time.

Wageningen and surrounding villages

The exhibition displays books, posters, aerial photographs and leaflets on how to grow your own food and prepare a nourishing menu. The exhibition ends with images of food transports through Wageningen and the surrounding villages. At the end of the war even the German army cooperated to deliver food to the still occupied western part of the country.

Exhibition poster. Source:
Exhibition poster. Source:
Food supply in Wageningen, WWII (Photo: WUR Image collection Women, Agricultural Sciences and Wageningen)
Food supply in Wageningen, WWII (Photo: WUR Image collection Women, Agricultural Sciences and Wageningen)


You are most welcome to visit the exhibition at Special Collections in the Forum Library, Droevendaalsesteeg 2, 6706KN Wageningen.

Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 9 am - 1 pm. Requests for guided tours in the afternoon can be send to