Warfare tourism experiences and national identity : The case of Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands

Gieling, Joost; Ong, Chin Ee


This paper examines through an analysis of Dutch warfare tourism whether there is a relationship between the subjective perceived salience of Dutch identity and heritage tourists’ motives, emotions and overall satisfaction. Using a social identity theory framework, this study provides a view of motives for Dutch warfare heritage tourism and the ways in which this specific variant of heritage tourism evokes different emotions and satisfaction evaluations in visitors. Specifically, we found that visitors who identified strongly as ‘being Dutch’ (the ‘in-group’) have stronger self-enhancement motives compared to those who identify less strongly, and that edutainment features strongly in the museum experience. Visitors seeking initiative/recognition express feelings of disappointment suggesting that the museum's symbolic function as a place of national in-group identity could be more highlighted. We demonstrate that an affirmative and engaged experience can manifest at nationally symbolic sites through positive historical narratives and entertainment, and through ‘in-group’ self-enhancement activities.