11.02.21 - 16:00 (CET)

Streaming live from the LRE Studio in Arnhem (NL), the LRE Conference will be an inspiring digital event open to all members and partners of LRE Foundation as well as anyone who is interested in WWII history and remembrance.

Host Anouk Susan will be joined by international guests, industry experts, and students to reflect on the challenges, opportunities, and future trends pertaining to the heritage, remembrance, and commemorations of the World War II. Joël Stoppels (Host of Europe Remembers “On Tour”) will report live from key locations in Gelderland marked by WWII.

11 February 2021

By host Anouk Susan (former director Germany NBTC, speaker) & Rémi Praud (Managing Director LRE Foundation)

Theme #1: Overcoming the Challenges of Today’s World – Perspectives from the WWII Heritage Sector

Panel discussion with:

Linda Hervieux, journalist and photographer, USA

Sebastiaan Vonk, historian, chairman of the Fields of Honour Foundation, NL

Prof. Lucy Noakes, Rab Butler Professor of Modern History at University of Essex, UK.


Nathalie Worthington, director of Juno Beach Center, FR

Wiel Lenders, director Freedom Museum in Groesbeek, NL

Massimo Turchi, historian and president of Gothic Line Association – Memory Lab, IT

Jan Engler, Marketing Department City of Pilsen, CZ


In the Studio: 

Jos Vranken, managing director Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC)

Jeroen Drabbe, director of AbelLeisure

Rémi Praud, managing director of LRE Foundation

Theme #2: Leaving a Legacy for Future Generations 

Featuring: Mervyn Kersh, WWII veteran UK infantry; 

In the studio:

Lisette Mattaar, director of the vfonds, NL

Peter van ‘t Hoog, deputy of the Province of Gelderland. 



Michael Dodds, director of Normandy Tourism Board


Hubert Bruls, mayor if the City Nijmegen

Tim Ruijling, initiator of the Sunset March Nijmegen

Joel Stoppels, Project manager LRE Foundation

Anouk Susan (host, former director Germany NBTC, speaker) & Rémi Praud (Managing Director LRE Foundation)

LRE Conference Hosts and Speakers


Hubert Bruls


Hubert Bruls is a Dutch politician of the political party CDA. He is a mayor of Nijmegen since 2012, chairman of the safety region Southeast Gelderland, and chairman of the National Security Council. In this last function he is the main liaison between the Minister of Health and the Safety Regions during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands. Before becoming mayor of Nijmegen he was mayor of Venlo, a member of the national House of Representatives and served as both an Alderman and a member of the municipal council of Nijmegen. Bruls attended gymnasium, the highest Dutch variant of secondary education, at the former Bisschoppelijk College in Sittard. He studied political science at Radboud University Nijmegen, before working at the trade union NOVON/ABVAKABO.

Herre Dijkema

Managing director - TVAN

Herre Dijkema is managing director of the regional tourist board “Toerisme Veluwe Arnhem Nijmegen”, the most important region of the Netherlands for domestic tourism. His strategic and professional focus is on destination management: that is, a sustainable balance between tourism and inhabitants, nature and liveability.For these purposes, he also runs a large network of members in Gelderland and various other organizations / tour operators in the Netherlands. He possesses an extensive experience in the sectors of management, hospitality and tourism. He is a member of the supervisory board LRE Foundation, in addition to membership of the advisory council of NBTC.


Jeroen Drabbe

Director - AbelLeisure

Jeroen Drabbe he is the Director and a co-owner of AbelLeisure, a sustainable company developing concepts based on recreational cycling, hiking, boating and driving. Simultaneously, he owns and pursues the Hospitality Concepts company, that develops concepts in the hospitality industry, healthcare, retail, tourism and real estate. With an extensive background in hospitality and hotel management, he successfully developed businesses.


Peter Drenth


Peter Drenth is a Dutch politician on behalf of the political party CDA. He has been a member of the Provincial Executive of Gelderland (College van Gedeputeerde Staten) since May 30, 2018. Drenth studied human geography and became a councillor in the municipality of Zeewolde in 2002. He became an alderman in Doetinchem after a few months as a councillor and remained in this position until April 2018, and eventually acted as the longest-serving alderman as acting mayor. At his farewell in Doetinchem, he was decorated as a Knight in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. On 30 May 2018, he joined the Provincial Executive in the province of Gelderland with the portfolio of vital countryside, economy, energy transition, broadband and the Interprovinciaal Overleg board.

Jan Engler

Marketing - city of pilsen, cz

Jan Engler is part of the Marketing Department of the City of Pilsen, in the Czech Republic. The department is responsible for the promotion of the City of Pilsen in the regional and international context. Jan is engaged in the organisation of the Liberation Festival, an event that remembers the liberation of the City of Pilsen by the US Army in early May 1945. The Liberation Festival takes place every year in May since 1990, and it attracts visitors from the United States and from all over Europe, involving the local inhabitants, veterans and their families. The City of Pilsen is a member of the LRE Foundation since 2018.


Linda Hervieux

Journalist and photographer

Linda Hervieux is a journalist and photographer whose work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the New York Daily News, and The Daily Beast. A native of Lowell, Massachusetts, she lived for many years in Brooklyn before moving to Paris, France, with her husband. ‘Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War’ is her first book. Her speaking engagements have included the National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the World War II Museum in New Orleans, and many universities including Harvard, Princeton, and Berkeley. As a journalist and photographer, my work has appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, New York Daily News, Daily Beast, TIME,,, and among other publications.


Peter van ’t Hoog


Peter van ’t Hoog is a Dutch politician of the political party Christen Unie. He has been a member of the Provincial Executive (College van Gedeputeerde Staten) of Gelderland since 5 June 2019. He studied traffic engineering at the Tilburg Traffic Academy and public administration at the Open University. He worked at Rijkswaterstaat until 2002 and from 2010 to 2019. He was also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the ACV Group in Ede until 2019. From 1994 to 1997 he was a councillor of Elburg on behalf of the RPF and from 2002 to 2010 on behalf of the Christen Unie alderman of Ede.

Mervyn Kersh

WWII Veteran

Mervyn Kersh is a WWII Jewish veteran from Cockfosters (South London), England. In June 1943, he has joined the army at the age of 18 ½. Following some tough training in Scotland with the Black Watch he goes onto become a Technical Clerk in the 17th Advance Vehicle Company, Royal Army Ordinance Corps. Serving as a private in the ordnance corps, Mervyn was amongst the first of his unit to land in the Gold Beach sector a few days after D-Day, after which he then headed inland to setup vehicle parks. He has received the Legion d’Honneur in 2015. He still lives in North London and is active in the veterans’ organisation AJEX (the Association of Jewish ex-servicemen and women).


Wiel Lenders

director - freedom museum

Wiel Lenders currently serving as the Managing Director Freedom Museum in Groesbeek and Infocentre WW2 Nijmegen. He studied History at the Radboud University Nijmegen and Museology course programs at the University of Leiden. After his graduation he worked in secondary education at the HAN University of Applied Sciences in Nijmegen and at the Department of International Relations and International Organization of the University of Groningen. Lenders is author and editor of various publications in the field of WWII history and European integration and he is involved in several international European projects such as The Liberation Route Europe and The Story of War and Freedom across Borders.


Lisette Mattaar


Lisette Mattaar is the director and secretary of the Board of Directors of the National Fund for Peace, Freedom and Veteran Care (vfonds) with effect from 1 October 2019. She has many years of executive experience, having been closely involved in the field of peace, democracy, national and international legal orders as the director of Humanity House for about nine years. She has graduated from the University of Maastricht and Amsterdam University, having pursued International Business to a master level.


Jurriaan de Mol

Deputy Director - LRE Foundation

Jurriaan de Mol is Director Netherlands and Deputy Director of LRE Foundation. Before he joined NBTC, he worked as Managing Director at Regionaal Bureau voor Toerisme Arnhem Nijmegen (Regional tourism board for Arnhem and Nijmegen, RBT KAN).  Prior to this, he held positions at VVV Rotterdam, KLM, Golden Tulip Hotels and Den Haag Marketing. He was also the initiator of the Liberation Route Europe and was responsible for initiating several partnerships, including VisitVeluwe and Toerisme Gelderland.

Professor Lucy Noakes

University of Essex

Professor Lucy Noakes is a Rab Butler Professor of Modern History at the University of Essex. She went to study unconventional history at the University of Sussex, and stayed there to complete her DPhil, drawing on the Mass Observation Archive held there, eventually becoming a Trustee. She subsequently joined Southampton Solent University, the University of Portsmouth and the University of Brighton, joining Essex in 2017. She focuses on the social and cultural history of early to mid 20th century Britain, with a particular interest in the experiences and memories of those who experienced the First and Second World Wars.


Rémi Praud

Managing director - lre foundation

Rémi Praud is the Managing Director of the LRE Foundation since February 2018. He joined the Foundation in March 2014, as Development and Programs Manager and later became its Deputy Director in January 2016. After his studies in Lyon at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques and an MA in European Affairs, he moved to Brussels to work in relation to the European Institutions. Before joining the LRE Foundation, he was representing the Lower-Normandy Region in Brussels. Rémi was also a visiting lecturer at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of Lyon since 2014, where he taught about European funding programs.

Anouk Ellen Susan

consultant and author

Anouk Ellen Susan is a Dutch speaker, trainer, coach, consultant and author currently living in Germany. She actively cultivates her interest in the affairs of both countries, e.g. as a chairman of the Deutsch-Niederländische Gesellschaft in Cologne, or as a “Strategic Marketer”  in the Netherlands’ Institute of Marketing “in 2010 (NIMA C). She was the director of the Netherlands Bureau for Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) in Germany, andworked as a Director of Business Strategy in The Hague. Altogether, she has worked in the marketing profession for more than twenty years.


Joël Stoppels

Project manager - lre foundation

Joël Stoppels has joined the Liberation Route Europe team as a project manager in January 2018. He is in charge of the further development of the Liberation Route in the northern part of the Netherlands and the Liberation Route Guide Organization coordination. Joël Stoppels is also an accredited member and validator from The International Guild of Battlefield Guides with badge number 70. He did a lot of research in different Allied operations during the Second World War in Holland and is now an expert and guide.


Massimo Turchi

history reasearcher & hiking guide

Massimo Turchi is a history researcher and a hiking tour guide, currently presiding on the Gothic Line Association – Memory Lab, dealing with the recovery, conservation and promotion of the historic memory of the Gothic Line, in all its aspects: military, social, economic and cultural. In particular, he’s closely linked with the Emilia-Romagna part of route, helping students to discover the personal stories along the Line. In connection to the Gothic line, he has created the ‘living diorama’ as an educational tool and curated thematic exhibitions, leading many EU-funded projects on remembrance and education. Furthermore, he has written several publications on the topic and is a regular speaker at conferences and events about WWII and the Gothic Line.

Sebastiaan Vonk

historian and author

Sebastiaan Vonk is a historian and author, who received his Bachelor and Master degree in American Studies from the University of Groningen. He has worked in the field of remembrance for years, being the chairman of the Fields of Honor Foundation and owner of pop.history. He has initiated projects such as The Faces of Margraten. His current research focuses on the contributions of Black Americans to the liberation of The Netherlands during World War II.


Jos Vranken


Jos Vranken is the CEO of NBTC (Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions), responsible for the development, branding & marketing of destination ‘Holland’. It operates in 11 (inter)national markets as NBTC Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions creating value for destination ‘Holland’ in general and its public & private partners in particular. He represents NBTC in its capacity of co-owner/shareholder of NBTC-NIPO Research, a joint venture between KANTAR TNS and NBTC. In addition, he is a member of the Supervisory Board of the Dutch Football Association and its Financial Audit Committee.


Nathalie Worthington

director - juno beach center

Nathalie Worthington is the director of the Juno Beach Center Museum for the past eighteen years. Before that, she has been long involved with the Memorial de Caen, having studied languages at the Caen University. For her work in the field of culture and education she has received an Ordre des Palmes académiques, a national order bestowed by the French Republic on distinguished academics and teachers and for valuable service to universities and science.


Michael Dodds

Director - Normandy Tourist Board

Michael Dodds is the Director of the Normandy Tourist Board. Originally from across the Channel, he worked for several years as a consultant specialising in tourism. His last experience as a consultant was the realization of the regional tourism development plan for Normandy. He is also the General Manager of the Normandy Attractiveness Agency, created on 23 June 2017. Originally having studied History at a Bachelor level in Manchester, he then moved on to pursue Master of Science in Recreation and Tourism Management at the Loughborough University.

LRE Forum 2021

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