Front city Nijmegen became a garrison city after the liberation in September 1944. During the following five months, Nijmegen turned into one large military encampment: the necessary preparation for the great Rhineland offensive, which finally broke the German resistance in the spring of 1945. During this period, the contacts between Nijmegen citizens and foreign military personnel are very intensive. Many thousands of allies had to be billeted in civilian houses. At one point Nijmegen had about 150,000 allied soldiers, out of 80,000 of its own inhabitants. Nijmegen also became a ‘leave-center’, the place to spend military leave.
Nijmegen became the entertainment city for the English and American soldiers for film and especially for dancing. In their own clubs they could recover from the horrors of the war with music and dance. The reasonably undamaged building ‘De Vereeniging’ was a suitable place for this, although the army command also claimed cafes and schools for this.
Despite the enormous danger, the feeling of freedom and the need for relaxation and entertainment were given an outlet on dance evenings. The allied soldiers and the girls from Nijmegen could swing openly to songs such as Lady be good, Honeysuckle rose, In the mood and Boogie Woogie.
The free style of dancing, drinking and the soldiers who had long been separated from home and wife sometimes caused major problems. At the dance evenings, young girls found themselves in undesirable situations, according to pastors and concerned parents.