Canadian War Museum historian Knighted by the Netherlands

OTTAWA, April 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian War Museum and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canada are pleased to announce that the Museum's director of research and exhibitions, Dr. Dean Oliver, has received the Dutch honour Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau. The prestigious decoration is bestowed by the Queen of the Netherlands on persons who have rendered outstanding service to society.

Dr. Oliver is one of Canada's foremost historians of the Second World War and has played a lead role in commemorating Canada's involvement in the Liberation of the Netherlands, one of the most celebrated events in Dutch history and one of the proudest moments in the annals of Canada's military. Dr. Oliver has also worked diligently to build and sustain a special relationship between the War Museum and Canada's Dutch community.

"We are very proud of Dr. Oliver and very grateful to Queen Beatrix for honouring his outstanding service," said Mark O'Neill, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. "The award is a fitting tribute to a scholar devoted to the preservation and promotion of Canada's military history in its personal, national and international dimensions."

"2010 marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. The pivotal role Canadian soldiers have played in liberating our country has given Canada and the Netherlands a shared military history. This shared history is highly visible in the Canadian War Museum," said His Excellency Wim J.P. Geerts, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canada. "Dr. Oliver is the primary creator of the War Museum's new historical exhibits on the 1939-1945 war. That the exhibits in the new building give appropriate attention to the Canadian role in the Liberation of the Netherlands is largely thanks to him. For this, Dr. Oliver has earned the respect of Canada's Dutch community."

The award was announced as Canada and its Second World War allies prepare to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, adding further significance to the honour.

Dr. Oliver is a highly respected scholar and museologist, renowned for his leadership in developing the Museum's ambitious and innovative Canadian Experience Galleries. These permanent exhibitions emphasize the human experience of war, showing how it has affected communities and individuals, both civilian and military. Dr. Oliver played an especially important role in developing the Second World War gallery, Forged in Fire, and its major exhibits devoted to the Liberation of the Netherlands.

The Museum begins its narrative of the Liberation by focusing on the sacrifice of the Canadian soldiers who fought in the difficult conditions of the Low Countries in 1944 and 1945. It then outlines the liberation itself and Canada's role in providing aid and medical help during the "Hunger Winter." It concludes by highlighting the Dutch Royal Family's wartime exile in Canada and by presenting a moving reminder of the special on-going relationship between the two countries.

Since the opening of its new building five years ago, the award-winning Museum has attracted approximately 500,000 visitors annually, testifying to the success of Dr. Oliver's leadership and vision. Being Knighted in the Order of Orange-Nassau underscores the importance of his service to the Museum and its Canadian and international visitors.

The Order of Orange-Nassau bears the hyphenated name used by the Royal Family of the Netherlands since the sixteenth century. Decorations can be bestowed on Dutch citizens and foreign nationals living anywhere in the world.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada's national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada's military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions.

SOURCE Canadian War Museum

For further information: For further information: Information (media): Canadian War Museum, Yasmine Mingay, Chief, Media Relations, Tel.: (819) 776-7167, yasmine.mingay@civilisations.ca; Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Anna Rijk, Senior Advisor Communications and Public Diplomacy, Tel.: (613) 237-5031 x 231 or (613) 218-7451 (mobile), anna.rijk@minbuza.nl

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