Prince Bernhard’s BS-Uniform
From the collection of the Dutch National Military Museum, Soesterberg
h 57 cm x w 47 cm
During the years the Dutch Royal family spent exiled in England, Prince Bernhard was of tremendous support to Queen Wilhelmina. In September 1944 she appointed him commander-in-chief of the BS: Nederlandse Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (Dutch Interior Forces).
The BS was a combination of the three most important Resistance groups active in the Netherlands. When the prince returned to mainland Europe, he was wearing this uniform especially made for him by a London tailor. On 18 September 1944 he was enthusiastically welcomed back by the inhabitants of Maastricht, the first city to be liberated in the Netherlands. From his headquarters in Breda, Bernhard travelled by jeep – with his camera bag in tow – to visit parts of the south that had already been liberated. Then finally on 5 May 1945 the momentous day arrived. The details of the armistice between the Allies and the German General Blaskowitz were discussed in Hotel De Wereld (The World) in the Dutch city of Wageningen. Bernhard arrived in style for the negotiations: in the confiscated Mercedes convertible that had belonged to the German Reichskomissar (Nazi Governor) Seyss-Inquart. The next day General Blaskowitz signed the agreement in the assembly hall of the Dutch Agricultural University.