Geert Van den Bogaert is a Belgian National who has successfully combined a B. A. degree in Tourism and Travel Management and his knowledge of military history for over a decade. He is one of the only Normandy tourism professionals who has worked as a museum, battlefield and military cemetery guide. He is fluent in English, French and Dutch.
Geert’s career started as a guide at the D-Day Landings Museum in Arromanches, the very first museum in Normandy in commemoration of the D-Day landings inaugurated on 5 June 1954.
In 2004 Geert was the first battlefield guide hired by the renowned Normandy battlefield tour company « Battlebus », enhancing his already extensive knowledge of the Normandy battlefields and guiding literally thousands of visitors along the D-Day sites.
In 2007 Geert was selected to become a US Government employee with the American Battle Monuments Commission acting as the agency’s first interpretive guide at the Normandy American Cemetery. He helped establish a new interpretive program at this iconic site of American history that previously primarily focused on maintenance. With over 1.5 million visitors from all over the world visiting the Normandy American Cemetery every year, Geert conducted a wide variety of tours to a large number of military groups, congressional delegations, business leaders, veteran organizations, universities, schools and the general public. Among the significant individuals he has guided are Secretary of State John Kerry, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, US Ambassadors to France Craig Stapleton and Charles Rivkin, Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Subway Founder and CEO Fred Di Luca just to name a few.
To perfect his guide skills Geert trained with the National Park Service and certified to become a guide and trainer with the National Association for Interpretation. He went on to train all new ABMC interpretive staff and was then selected to be the lead trainer for the agency conducting training sessions at 20 US military cemeteries around the world
Over the years Geert was particularly honored to assist hundreds of next-of-kin who lost a family member buried in the Normandy American Cemetery. In 2014 Geert decided that he wanted to do more and focus full-time on helping those who have a forefather who served in Normandy during WWII. He teamed up with some of the best professionals in the business and created « Normandy Heroes ». He also created a non-profit organization that raised funds to help 10 American families who lost an ancestor in Normandy during WWII, travel to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
For the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe he acted as Director of European Operations for the WWII Foundation, a not for profit organization which aims to capture important WWII oral histories.
He is also the executive producer of an upcoming WWII documentary entitled « In The Footsteps of Bud Owens »