Under German occupation in 1940-1945, Vught was the infamous location of a prison camp. After the war the site became a maximum security prison and the remnants of the German camp were in danger of disappearing behind the new prison wall. One of these was the crematorium. By leaving it outside the compound, this was to become the focus of the National Monument.
|Since it opened in 1990, public interest kept increasing. After a decade, a plan was called for to accommodate an ever growing number of visitors and cars. Also, the camp within the original fence had steadily been cluttered with temporary buildings for exhibitions and staff, an amphitheater and a number of memorials. The crowded parking lot near the prison entrance and a bike path directly at the west side of the camp added to the confusion.|
|Order and tranquility were introduced by separating the remaining corner of the camp from the world outside with a rectangular building block, designed by architects Claus & Kaan.|
| New building
The building marks the entrance to the camp. At the same time it acts as a screen. The south side is closed, except for the entrance. The east side opens up to the adjacent woodlands. The north side, where the exhibition rooms are, allows a view of what remains of the camp. To the west a completely blind façade faces the wall of the new prison.
The past is represented by the crematorium building, the reconstruction of a barracks and a scale model of the original camp in blue stone. The still existing double fence of concrete posts and barbed wire, with a water-filled ditch in between has been repaired. Three reconstructed watch towers stand just outside the fence.
The buildings are set in a grass lawn, transected by paths in gravel or paved with bricks, leading to slabs of natural stone where memorials are placed: the ash pits of the crematorium, a monument to Jewish children. Existing trees were kept, and shrubs have been cleared to create an unobstructed view. Removing this visual noise has brought tranquility to the place.
Board of governors of the
Nationaal Monument Kamp Vught
Claus en Kaan Architecten