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Secret Messages
This exhibition is now closed

Open from 4 October 2008 - 28 February 2009
This summer, museum Jan Corver has been closed for several months. That was for a good reason. During the past 9 years, our collection has been enhanced significantly, but our exhibition in Budel had hardly changed. This was the main reason for giving the museum a complete makeover and create a new - temporary - exhibiton. From 4 October 2008, until 28 Februari 2009, the museum will be open every Saturday to allow you to view the exhibition Secret Messages.

The exposition shows objects from our own collection plus a large number of unique objects from other museums and collectors. It covers the entire period from World War II until the present day and a large portion of our space is, of course, dominated by the Cold War. Some of the equipment is still in working condition and our staff will be happy to demonstrate it to you.

For the occasion, the museum floor has been divided into three areas, each covering an historical period. Wherever possible, the equipment will be shown in the correct chronological order, so that it will give you a good historical view. Below is a brief description of what you may expect.
World War II
Despite the fact the World War II is now more than 60 years behind us, it is still of interest to many people. This is mainly caused by the fact that during that period, technological developments have made a enourmous leap. World War II was and still is a source of inspiration for film makers, which causes this period to keep young and old interested.

On display is, for example, equipment used by the Dutch resistance to send secret messages to the Dutch Government in England. But we'll also show you the equipment used by the Germans as well as the allies to send encrypted messages. Who hasn't heard about the famous German Enigma machine? Well, we have three different models of this rare machine on display. But that's not all. We also have the German Siemens Geheimschreiber present, just like the crypto machines used by the allies, such as the Hagelin and Sigaba.

During WWII, many people listened to Radio Orange which was broadcasted via the BBC. The Dutch government and our queen used Radio Orange to send messages to the people in the occupied Netherlands. As the possesion of radios was illegal in those days, many people used small self-built radios that could easily be hidden from the enemy. Some of these amateur radios are now on display in the museum. To prevent people from listening to the BBC, the Germans used a number of radio jammers that they turned on during the broadcasts of Radio Orange. One of these jammers is now on display as well.
Cold War
The Cold War was a period of great political and militairy tension between East and West. Bugging, tracing, espionage and counter-espionage were common, and have been featuered in many movies ever since.

On display are, for example, a number of spy transceivers, created by the Russians, that were used by spies and agents in the West to send secret messages to Moskow. Just like in other European countries, some of these transmitters have been found in the Netherlands and were confiscated by the intelligence services. Some agents used radio equipment that could be hidden under their clothing which often led to the development of tracking devices by their enemies. Both types of equipment are on display in the museum, some even in working order.
   The exhibition shows a large collection of spy equipment created by the Russians, the Brits, the Americans and others, such as spy radio equipment, spy cameras, concealed radios and equipment to trace the secret transmitters of enemy agents. Also on display are crypto machines such as the Russian Fialka (shown here) and the Swiss NEMA, which are both clearly derived from the German Enigma, as well as modern crypto stuff.

In order to make tracing of secret transmitters more difficult, both sides used burst encoders. A burst encoder is a device which allows a previously stored coded message to be transmidded in a few seconds. As this requires the transmitter to be on the air for only a short period of time, it was very difficult for the enemy to trace them.
Modern equipment
It is, of course, difficult to say anything sensible about the equipment that is currently being used, mainly because most of it still is classified. But we can give you some ideas about what's happening and we can show you devices that were until recently in use with government, army and large companies. Some of this equipment will be shown to the public for the very first time.   

Extended opening hours
As frequent visitors will now, the museum is normally only open on the first and third Saterday of each month. However, to allow anyone to view the new temporary exhibition, we've decided to open our doors every Saturday until 28 February 2009 from 10:00 to 17:00. For schools and other groups it will be possible to visit the museum outside these opening hours. Please contact the museum director for this.
Press release
On 1 October 2008, Museum Jan Corver has issued a press release with details about the exhibition Secret Messages. Editors, webmasters and other interested people may download this press release below. The press release is available as a PDF file, as well as a 'flat' ASCII text file. Furthermore, a high resolution photograph of a German Enigma machine is available. This image can be used freely for the promotion of this exhibition. Use of the image for any other purpose, whithout our prior written consent, is prohibited.

 Press release in PDF format (English)
 Press release in 'flat' ASCII format
 Hi-res image of a German Enigma machine
Click for hi-res image

Below are a couple of photographs of the new exhibition. You may click any of the photographs for a high-resolution image. Use of these images for promotion of the exhibition Secret Messages is allowed. Use of the images for any other purpose, without our prior written consent, is prohibited.
Click for hi-res image Entrance Click for hi-res image Coding machines Click for hi-res image Russian stuff Click for hi-res image The Cold War
Click for hi-res image Spy equipment Click for hi-res image The Enigmae Click for hi-res image Enigma close-up Click for hi-res image Radio jammer
Click for hi-res image B2 spy-set in use Click for hi-res image Type 3/Mk II (B2) Click for hi-res image Russian Fialka Click for hi-res image Nato M-190
Click for hi-res image Geheimschreiber Click for hi-res image Hagelin

Video impression


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