Photo above: Military men with their horses at the stables. Source: Platform Militaire Historie Ede
On 1 May 1906, the troops of two infantry battalions of the 11th Infantry Regiment became the first residents of Ede garrison, numbering around 1,400 soldiers in total. They moved into the infantry barracks, which as of 1934, bore the names Maurits Barracks and Johan Willem Friso Barracks.
Shortly after this, the field artillery and the cavalry also gained their own barracks in Ede. From 1934 onwards, these were known as the Van Essen Barracks and the Arthur Kool Barracks. In 1908, Van Essen Barracks became home to the staff and two batteries (+/- 350 men) of the 4th Field Artillery Regiment. Arthur Kool Barracks accommodated two squadrons (+/- 300 men) of the 1st Hussars Regiment.
Stables were built for the artillery and cavalry units, with space for more than 500 horses, and a smithy in which four farriers and a ‘swordsmith’ (in this case actually a rifle-maker) worked.
Other facilities, too, were constructed on the extensive barracks site: kitchens, canteens, staff buildings, halls for cannons, for vehicles and riding halls, storehouses for oats, hay, straw and turf, a stable for sick horses, ammunition stores, a hall for gymnastics and fencing, ‘private buildings’ (toilets), manure troughs and two residential houses.
In 1936, the P.L. Bergansius Barracks was constructed as a training building and base for the School for Mounted Artillery Reserve Officers. Finally, Elias Beeckman Barracks and Simon Stevin Barracks were built between 1938 and 1940 for, respectively, an Infantry Regiment (2,500 men) and a Motorised Artillery Regiment (650 men).
Following the general mobilisation on 29 August 1939, the barracks were filled to bursting. But once the soldiers had departed for their wartime positions, the barracks stood empty. During the occupation from 1940 to 1945, the barracks were used by German units.
After the war, the horses were replaced by a wide variety of vehicles and tanks. For a long time, Ede remained a well-known garrison town. In the early post-war years, soldiers deploying to the Dutch East Indies were trained here. Later, all kinds of military units settled in Ede, such as artillery, anti-aircraft artillery, military medical personnel, signals troops and military intelligence. In addition, on 4 August 1966, the Vereniging Voor Dienstplichtig Militairen (VVDM), a trade union for conscript soldiers, was founded in Ede. This was a unique event, because an organisation like this was not permitted in any other country!
Since 2010, the barracks have no longer been administered by the Ministry of Defence. The site is now used for housing and business premises.
Do you want to experience this story on its original location? Visit the information panel across the street from Platform Militaire Historie Ede.