Sunday 21 August 2022

Belgium Trip Pt3

 Museum Aan De Ijzer

Tuesday 16th the choir was going to take part in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, they were kind enough to allow Debbie and I to hitch a ride on the coach. Part of the day was a stop and visit to this museum. 

The Museum aan de IJzer (Museum on the Yser) is located at the European Peace Site on the river Yser, which includes the Pax Gate, Yser Crypt and Yser Tower. The Yser Tower is home to the interactive museum of war and peace, on 22 floors. The roof terrace at a height of 84 metres (which makes it the highest memorial in Europe) offers a unique view of the entire front region. The tower is a symbol to the futility of war and to peace.

The tower is just an astounding sight

You first thing I noticed were large wire baskets containing hundreds of shell casings which had been placed around the entrance gates

Then you have the Pax Gate with the Yser Crypt beyond

The original tower was began in 1928 as memorial to Flemish soldiers who died during the Great War, but this soon became a symbolic location for the Flemish nationalist movement. The association of the Flemish movement with colaboration with the Germans durign WW2 led to two former memebrs of the Belgian resistance blowing the tower up in 1946! The remains of the tower were remodelled into the peace gate. 

The grounds have several pieces of art sculpture created from battlefield debris

The main tower is 22 floors high topped by a viewing balconey, the balcony has a 360 degree painting set above it pictured as the view would look at the height of WW1 - just amazing!! As was the view from the rooftop
The towers various levels focuses on the Belgium-German part of WW1as well as Flemish emancipation. As you descend, you pass through a dated timeline of the war along with news, propaganda, symbolism and history. There are many short films being shown of actual wartime news or cartoon representations. Whilst there was a fair bit in English most of the descriptions and all newspaper/notices, etc were in Flemish or Dutch. 
Frankly it is impossible to describe everything in any detail that would do it justice so here are some photos I took, mostly uniforms and kit:

The choir 




  1. De "Ijzertoren" - a very 'loaded' monument in Belgian/Flemish history ...

    1. Possibly, but still very moving and interesting