The "Old Hickory Fund"

The "Old Hickory Fund" was established in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Maastricht and South Limburg.

Our foundation is named after the American 30th Infantry Division "Old Hickory," which played a key role in liberating Maastricht and other cities and regions.

During the initial phase, the foundation received donations from various Dutch and American sponsors and organizations. We initiated a program with the goal of educating children in Maastricht about freedom and its significance in our time.

This initiative is known as "Freedom through Education."

We educate children about the importance of peace, providing information about the second world war and emphasize that young people sacrificed their lives for our freedom in 1944 and 1945.

The Old Hickory Fund aims to contribute to youth education by emphasizing that war can never be a solution for living in peace. We stress the importance of the younger generation working towards peace for everyone, both now and in the future.

Each year, the board of the Old Hickory Fund organizes tours at the American Cemetery in Margraten, where over 8,000 American soldiers are buried. These tours take place around Memorial Day (May/June).

Within our board, several volunteers serve as guides at the cemetery. They share deeply personal stories about the boys and girls buried in Margraten with the visiting children and their teachers. Schools receive information in advance, and teachers conduct dedicated classes to prepare students for their visit to the American Cemetery. The Old Hickory Fund arranges bus transportation, shuttling the children from school to Margraten and back.

The experience at the cemetery leaves a profound impression on the children, as they witness firsthand the devastating consequences of war.

Since 1994, each year approximately 500 pupils from the highest classes of primary schools (11 and 12-year-olds) visit Margraten to explore the cemetery.

Since the inception of our project, thousands of young people have participated, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Many children return to Margraten with their parents after the visit. The teachers are enthusiastic and positive, returning to participate in the program year after year.