Ypres District Belgium West Flanders

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While touring around Ypers District Belgium, make time to see all the delightful sights.

Langemark

*Poppy Cenotaph

In September of 2016, they had an International Blacksmithing Event. There were a group of smiths from around the world, helping with a Belgian sculpture commemorating World War I. A Poppy Cenotaph was unveiled in Ypres, at the annual International Blacksmithing Event. The cenotaph, an empty tomb, will commemorate all those who died, were wounded and were displaced during the war. The piece has 2,016 iron poppy flowers. The flowers mirror the Flanders Field Poppy, an international symbol of remembrance based on the flower’s growth on the battlefields of Belgium.

For more information, click here for the Facebook page.

 Ypres Salient

*The Palingbeek (Eel Creek)

‘De Palingbeek’ was along the frontline in WWI, in the centre of the Ypres Salient. ‘The Bluff’ (highest peak), known to the Germans as ‘Die Grosse Bastion’. The bluff was an active spot in WWI. The ‘Great Mine Warfare’ in Mesen on June 7th 1917 also left its traces in ‘De Palingbeek’ and surroundings, among them Caterpillar Crater and Hill 60. You can visit the visitor’s centre, the Astrolab Iris and the environmental farm.

‘De Palingbeek’ is a paradise for walkers of all kinds. The walking network map Ypres Salient can be a very good manual, (only in Dutch or French).

Website

Ypres Salient

*Hooge Crater Museum

Ypres District Belgium

The war museum houses the collections of two people. The curator Niek Benoot and Philippe Oosterlinck. The collections complete each other, with a vast amount of weaponry, uniforms and outfits of all armies taking part in WWI. There are lifelike scenes giving a genuine idea of what life was like during the war. These scenes range from German bunkers to British trenches and real size cavalry horses. Weapons and other materials are sorted by country and army. The information cards are in four languages. The trenches and artifacts discovered in Boezinge, are also on display in the museum. Website

Langemark-Poelkapelle

*Folk Tale Route
Ypres District Belgium

There are 16 beautiful “story poles “. With a simple push of a button you will hear folk tales performed by experienced tellers. There are four versions- local dialect, general Dutch, French or English. Use this website or via QR code to listen to each story. It’s magical stories about white and black magic, witches and devils water, german shepherds and other tall stories about the gang of Pollet and Bakelandt-which ravaged the region

Pilkem/

Langemark

*Welsh Memorial

Ypres District Belgium

Wales lost more people as a percentage of its population than any other country.  If you follow football/soccer you might be familiar with Gareth Bale.  He and the Welsh football team made a special effort to visit it while in Belgium for their game.

More Information

Hagebos/

Iron Cross

*Hedd Wyn

Ypres District Belgium

If you happen to be in the township of Hagebos the first Monday of the month, help commemorate the loss of a fallen Welsh soldier during WWI.

Ellis Humphrey Evans, better known by Hedd Wyn, was  a Welsh poet. He competed for the chair of the National Eisteddfod, the highest recognition for poetry in Wales.  Hedd died 31 July 1917 as a soldier in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, he was taking part in the assault on Pilkem Ridge. This was the first act of the Battle of Passchendaele. In 1992 a movie of his life was released.

Zonnebeke

*Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

Ypres District Belgium

The museum is on the Zonnebeke castle grounds and is the ideal starting point for a visit to the battlefields of 1917. Less than 2 miles away, you can find the well-known Polygon Wood Cemetery and Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the world. The museum offers 5 genres.
1. War paraphernalia (uniforms, photos, and life like dioramas).
2. A re-created dugout experience (communications, dressing posts, headquarters and sleeping-accommodations).
3. A new underground building about the Battle of Passchendaele, focusing on the role of different nations.
4. The trench experience (a network of reconstructed German and British trenches).
5. Hall of Reflection (focuses on the remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of victims).

There is also a research center in the old rectory, where, amonst others, you can find a list of all fallen in the Zonnebeke area during 1914-18.

Website

Video

Zonnebeke

*WWI Underground

Ypres District Belgium

Today the district of Zonnebeke and its five villages – located at the center of the area devastated by the Battle of Passchendaele – have the largest concentration of recorded World War I underground constructions. The deep dugouts are flooded, which helps to preserve them as the most authentic relics of the Great War in Flanders.

The Zonnebeke Church Dugout, is located directly beneath the ruins of the parish church. During archaeological excavations of the Augustinian Abbey the dugout was discovered. Today the outline of this dugout is marked in an archaeological garden within the church grounds, and a model of the church dugout can be seen at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917.

Wikipedia Website

 

Zonnebeke

*De Dreve/ANZAC Rest

Johan Vandewalle’s  restaurant/pub, is filled with memorabilia from his trip to Australia, and from the dead Australian soldiers whose bodies he excavated back in 2006. Local workers were to watch for  soldiers remains. The local worker gave him a call. He discovered one body was covered with a plastic sheet. When he took away the sheet, the eyes of the fallen soldier looked straight at him.  He made it his mission to discover his identity.  Australian brothers John “Jack” Hunter, and Jim, were fighting side by side in WWI. John died in battle.  Jim wrapped him in plastic, and buried him, thinking to return later and give him a proper burial. Unfortunately Jim died before his brother was discovered. Enjoy the mural painted on the outside of the building.

Article on this story

Anzac Rest Trip Advisor

Passchendaele

*Passendale Cheese

This well known Belgian cheese exists in 3 versions. The regular cheese exists in two variations called Classic and Prelude (young cheeses). The Bel Age is their aged cheese.

While there, buy a pint of the Passchendaele Beer, the only place you can buy it. Always have a moment of silence to commemorate those who fell on the battlefield.

Website

Boezinge

*Essex Farm Area

See Advanced Dressing Stations(ADS) from WWI, a cemetery, and the remains of several bunkers. You can also see an uncovered railway, used to transport supplies during the war. 

John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields” while stationed at Essex Farm for Alexis Helmer a friend, whom died in May 1915. John’s name is on the Menin Gate.

Boezinge

*The Yorkshire Trench & Dug-Out

Ypres District BelgiumSeveral information boards are placed at various points around the site. Enjoy the duplicate A-frame and duckboard used to provide the base of the trenches. Other information boards have photographs from the actual excavation, plus historical pictures from the war.

More info here.

Poperinge

*Sint Janskerk /Saint John’s Church

On Sunday March 11th 1479, a stillborn child was born. Therefore they had to bury him unbaptized. The parents prayed to the virgin Mary for a miracle, his rebirth. So the child could re-live and be baptized again, a local, religious virgin had to promise not to wear a shirt or to sleep on a bed of feathers for seven years.  The baby was dug up. He had clear signs of life: bleeding out of the belly button, opening of the eyes and holding out his hands. A few days after baptism, the baby died again, and was buried inside the church, where a tombstone remembers this miracle.The pope deemed it a “miracle” in 1481.

The Marie Ommegang Parade every March is a celebration of the miracle. Notice the Lady of Saint John statue found by a captain on the river bank.

More info here.

Poperinge

*The Ghybe Statue

Ypres District Belgium

Keikoppen-or pig head, can refer to Poperinge citizens. They refused to back off their linen production and infringing on Ypres trade in the Middle Ages. The statue is a satirical representation of this rivalry.  Ghybe (a jester-count of Flanders) is riding an ass (the county of Flanders) backwards, and stumbling over boulders (Poperinge). The statue symbolizes the 3 major cloth towns, Gent, Ieper and Brugge (a combination of the town names) making an “ass” out of the jester.

Cloth was never mentioned again around Poperinge, because you can’t use it to make beer…Plukker Brewery Website

Poperinge

*Talbot House
Experience home away from home during WWI. Known as the “every man’s club” it catered to over a half a million soldiers. It still provides rest and recreation today. Stop by and learn why many soldiers called Poperinge  “Little Paris”.

Ypres District Belgium

Website

For more information on the Talbot house and other WWI sites in west flanders, read a previous post here.

*Hop Museum

An informative audio tour guides you through four floors of flax history, cultivation, harvesting and processing. Tours are with and without tasting. Take a combination tour, save money and see the Talbot house as well.

Beselare

*Witches

 Traditionally, Beselare is known as a witch and sorceress parish. Every village has a few stories about witch trials, witchcraft and flying goats etc. The Beselare witch legends took place in the 17th century. The witches are depicted in a bi-annual parade. There is a witch’s path to lead you through the local haunts.  The walk ends in a pub with a witches brew. They play music and dance all night. This leads up to a mock witch’s trial.
This year we visited the Witches parade for the first time, here you can see some pictures.

Beselare

*Witches (continued)

The ‘witches’ garden lies hidden behind the church of Beselare. The pentagram and the circle are the two main symbols of magic and alchemy. There is also a sundial and a table (altar).
The 2017 event had 30,000 visitors. Click here for more pictures from our day in Beselare..

Passchendaele

*Passchendaele film

A movie from 2008, filmed in Canada en Belgium. It tells the story of a canadian soldier, and his experiences during the third Battle of Ypres.

Our focus is normally on seeing the sights the world has to offer.  But we also pride ourselves on sharing information. It is a romantic story.

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