Directed by Ate de Jong, ‘The Bombardment’ or ‘Het Bombardement’ is a Dutch war drama movie set in May 1940, in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. It revolves around Vincent de Graaf — a baker’s assistant and amateur boxer — who falls in love with Eva von Heerle, the wealthy daughter of German refugees. However, Eva is engaged to a middle-aged man, Dirk Lagerwaard, to secure her family’s safety. On the other hand, Vincent wishes to emigrate to the United States to treat his ill brother.
Life, however, takes a dark turn when the German forces attack the Netherlands. Both Vincent and Eva try to navigate their lives and feelings while navigating the war-torn land around them. The gritty yet stunning visuals of the tale of star-crossed lovers add an authentic touch to the historically charged story. If you, too, are interested in knowing where the thrilling movie was shot, here is everything we know!
The Bombardment Filming Locations
Alternatively titled ‘The Rotterdam Bombing,’ ‘The Bombardment’ was extensively filmed in and around the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands in order to fully capture the essence of the story. Apart from that, some portions were also shot in the cities of Utrecht, Netherlands and Budapest, Hungary. The filming of the movie reportedly began in May 2012 and concluded a few months later. Here is a deep dive into the specific filming locations!
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands, with a history dating back to 1270. The city was established around the dam on the river Rotte, which is how it got its name. Located in the province of South Holland, the city was bombarded heavily on May 14, 1940, during World War II. The aerial bombing was meant to help the German troops battling in the city and shatter the Dutch resistance. The attack, also known as the Rotterdam Blitz, serves as the backdrop for the film’s story.
Rotterdam is home to the largest seaport in all of Europe. It also serves as the waterway access to Western Europe due to its extensive distribution system via rail, water, and road, thus earning the title of “Gateway to Europe.” Today, Rotterdam stands tall as a sign of Dutch prosperity despite the scars that were left by its enemies. Therefore, it is not surprising why the team chose the bustling city as a place of residence for the characters, depicting the life before the devastating attack by the German forces.
Utrecht, the Netherlands
A portion of ‘ The Bombardment’ was also filmed in the city of Utrecht, which is one of the many underrated tourist attractions across the globe. It is the fourth largest city in all of the Netherlands, with buildings dating as far as the High Middle Ages. Dubbed a mixture of “urban excitement and small-town charm,” the city serves as the religious center of the country and is home to several medieval monuments. It is also known for its tree-lined canals and is home to the prestigious university of the same name.
Utrecht was considered the most important city in all of the Netherlands before the emergence of Amsterdam. As per historical records, after the bombardment of Rotterdam, the German forces threatened to do the same in Utrecht if the Dutch did not surrender. Given the heavy toll of the Blitz and the significance of Utrecht, the Dutch surrendered to the Germans and signed a capitulation on the morning after the attack.
Dordrecht, the Netherlands
Dordrecht, also known as Dordt, is the oldest city in all of Holland. The city is located in South Holland, just like Rotterdam, and is renowned for its rich history and culture. It faced its own tribulations during the tail end of World War 2. Several scenes for the 2012 film were shot in this city.
Zeelandic Flanders, the Netherlands
As per reports, Zeeuws-Vlaanderen or Zeelandic Flanders also served as a shooting site for ‘The Bombardment.’ Located in the southernmost region of the province of Zeeland, the region lies in the southwestern part of the country. The region is not connected by land to the rest of the Netherlands but does share a border with Belgium. Thus, it is connected to the rest of its country through tunnels and railway lines.
Apart from filming in the Netherlands, the team also moved to Hungary to tape a few sequences. Several scenes for ‘The Bombardment’ were shot in Budapest between June and July 2012. Settled along the river Danube, the Hungarian capital is one of the largest cities in the European Union. Budapest has seen several changes in its ruling existence after Hungarians settled here in the late 9th Century. Given its rich history and beautiful architecture, the central area of Budapest along the river Danube is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
It is believed that the country of Belgium in Western Europe also hosted the production of a minor portion of the Dutch war film. The country shares a border with the Netherlands and has been the hotspot for multiple European wars. Some other movies that have been filmed in this beautiful country are ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, ‘Blue Is the Warmest Colour’ and ‘Annette’.
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