Belgian Museums

Belgian Museums
click on the logo on the left to direct you to take you to their website
Yser Tower Museum
The ‘Museum at the Yser’ with its 22 floors, brings the enduring story of the Belgian-German confrontation during the First World War on the one hand, and of the Flemish emancipation on the other. With the motto ‘What remains of life? What remains of the land?’ the entirely renovated ‘Museum at the Yser’, which opened its doors in February 2014, emphasises the idea and culture of peace.
Ijzerdijk 49, 8600 Diksmuide
Tel: 0032 (0)51 5002 86
Fax: 0032 (0)51 502258
Trenches of Death
Close to the Yser Tower Museum, the Belgian trenches along the Yser Canal should not be missed. The museum is just over a kilometre of front line overlooking the Canal. There is a visitors centre which charts the history of the war in the region.
Open from 1st April to 15th November from 10.00am to 4.30pm, 16th November to 31st March from 9.30am to 3.30pm.
Along the Yser
8600 Diksmuide
Tel: +32 (0)51 505344
L’Auberge (café and restaurant opposite Ploegsteert Memorial) and The Ploegsteert Sector Battlefield Experience
Run by Claude and Nelly, in my opinion it is a great place to relax for a drink or a meal. It is only fair to make use of the café if you are going to leave your car to go on your own walking tour! Claude organises special walking tours so should you be interested in getting into the parts of Ploegsteert Wood that are not normally available to the public, contact him below, he will be pleased to help.
Rue de Messines 159, 7782 Ploegsteert
Tel: 0032 (0)56 588441 Fax: 0032 (0)56 587534
Email: auberge@skynet.be 
 
Menin Road Museum, Canadalaan
The museum and café is on the Menin Road at the corner of Canadalaan. It is closed on Tuesdays. The café provides a wide range of beers and excellent Belgian food, you may have to book for lunch in advance, but it is worthwhile, especially if you have a big appetite!
It is a super little museum and the owners organise walking tours for individuals and groups, including schools.
Meenseweg 470, Zillebeke
Tel: 0032 (0)57 201136
Email: info@meninroadmuseum.com
 
Hooge Crater Museum
Open from Easter to the end of November each year, otherwise by special request. It is an excellent little museum that has a bar attached where a selection of simple food is available. They accommodate groups. Open from 10.00am to 6.00pm every day except for Mondays. Closed in January.
Meenseweg 467, 8902 Zillebeke
Tel: 0032 (0)57 468446 Fax: 0032 (0) 57468712
Email: hoogecrater.com  

Passchendaele 1917 Memorial Museum, Zonnebeke
The museum is situated in a lovely château in the centre of the village. It is also a centre of study of the First World War concentrating on the Third Battle of Ypres. The exhibits are beautifully displayed and it is a fascinating museum. Open from 10.00am to 6.00pm from 1st February to 30th November.
Zonnebeke Château Park, 8980 Zonnebeke
Tel: 0032 (0)51 770441
Email: toerisme@zonnebeke.be   

Plugstreet 14-18 Experience
Interpretation Centre “Plugstreet 11-18 Experience” is situated close to the British Memorial in Ploegsteert. Covered with a natural carpet of greenery its semi-underground structure is topped by an elegant glass pyramid. The architectural design perfectly fits into a surrounding wooded area.

‘Bayernwald’ Trenches, Wytschaete
The German trenches have been carefully re-dug and restored. It was from these trenches that Adolf Hitler went out to rescue his Colonel in December 1914 who had been shot. For his bravery under fire he was awarded the Iron Cross, 2nd Class.
Access to the site is by appointment at the Tourist Office in Kemmel:
Reningelststraat 11, 8950 Kemmel

Talbot House, Poperinghe
During the war ‘Tubby’ Clayton and Neville Talbot began a club for all ranks. It was named after Neville’s brother, Gilbert, who was killed at Hooge on Friday 30th July 1915. (I have reproduced his war diary with additional notes, see the section ‘I Was There’ ). Simple rooms are available to stay in and there is a fascinating museum to visit.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30am to 5.30pm from 16th February to 14th November, otherwise it from 1.00pm to 5.00pm.
Gasthuisstraat, 8970 Poperinghe
Tel: 0032 (0)57 333228

In Flanders Field Museum
No visit to the Ypres Salient is complete without a visit to the main museum in the area.
Grote Markt 34, 8900 Ypres
Tel: 0032 (0)57 239220

Hill 62, ’Sanctuary Wood’ Museum
The museum and café has been on the site for decades and has become infamous over the years! It has some of the few preserved trenches available to visit on the Salient and is open all the year round.
Canadalaan 26, Zillebeke
Tel: 0032 (0)57 466373

The Passchendaele Pub
Pub in the heart of Passchendaele, with the lovely Passchendaele Beer, several beers from the Castle Brewery, local beers and snacks.
We pay a lot of attention to the First World War , and with our knowledge, we try to help tourists on their way in this beautiful region.
Groups are welcome at The Passchendaele Pub. The pub has a dining room for 50 persons.
We have a HD TV with a connection for a laptop, a beamer, and there are maps of the battle field area.  It is suitable for a guide to provide information about the front region.
Passendaleplaats 7
8980 Passendale
Tel: +32 (0)474 96 98 38
Email: info@thepasschendaelepub.be

Pond Farm Museum
Our museum is located in an little old house on the farm. It is one of the houses that was built just after the war. At first the farmer lived in there till about 1927, the year he moved to the newly built farm. The small houses then were used by the workmen.
In the years after the war, those men, on Sundays when they had a day off, went searching on the fields to find and collect war material. By selling this, they often earned more then their monthly pay!
The construction and the design of the little house reflect the spirit of the early 20th century. It's austure and modest in size and furnishing. The wooden ceiling, doors and staircase, all have the scent of those bygone days.
Out of this aspect I decided to place the older objects, that were stored on the attic, in what has become my museum: a typical old stove, chairs, horse collars, irons, wafer irons. The museum now contains war relics and antique objects. Still there was one problem. Since, at the time, the only source of light in the house was an oil lamp, it had no electricity supply. In October 2007 I started my job at a lighting company and that gave me the chance to purchase lightfittings that are now installed in the museum(www.supermodular.com). Visiting the place in the evening now is possible as well.
Email: pondfarm@telenet.be

Long Max Museum
The Lange Max Museum is a must-see place for the World War I tourist on the German side of the western frontline. The farmyard is the centre of this curtural and touristic location. A long lane takes you from the farmyard to the remains of the artillerie platform of the former German cannon 'Lange Max' ('Long Max').
In a brand new contemporary museum, the visitor learns all about the huge cannon that was designed to bombard Dunkirk and Ypres. The German occupation of Koekelare during the First World War is fully covered.
The little bakehouse still contains traces of the German presence and is redesignated as a multi-media room.
You can relax on a cosy terrace enjoying a 'Kanonbier' or homemade pancakes.
Opening Hours:
July and August: every day from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm.
Other months: from Wednesday to Sunday: from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm (Monday and Tuesday closed)
Clevenstraat 2
8680 Koekelare
Tel: +32 (0)475 58 50 51
Fax: +32 (0)51 58 01 96
Email: info@langemaxmuseum.be

The Albert Memorial, Nieuwpoort and Visitors Centre
The Memorial dates from 1930 where on the first Sunday in August a special service is held there to commemorated King Albert I and the soldiers of the First World War.
A Visitors Centre has been built below it that is worth a visit. Opposite the Memorial is the British War Memorial to the Missing.
Open daily, except Mondays from 10.00am to 5.00pm from 2nd January to 31st December 2015.

HMS Vindictive, Ostend
This ship was sunk in the harbour during the night of 9th to 10th May 1918 as the British attempted to block the Ostend harbour to prevent German submarines from accessing the North Sea from their operating base in Bruges. The raid cost the lives of 8 British servicemen with 10 missing and 29 wounded. It has now been restored and relocated close to where the ship was originally sunk.
GPS: Longitude 51° 14′ 15.01″   Latitude 2° 55′ 27.04″

Raversyde Museum, Ostend
Walk through two world wars in bunkers and trenches … the Atlantikwall is one of the leading attractions at the Belgian coast and one of the two museums at Raversyde.
The over 60 bunkers, observation posts and artillery positions combined with two kilometres of open or subterranean corridors constitute one of the best preserved parts of the infamous German ‘Atlantikwall’. This defence line was built by the Germans during the Second World War and ran from the French-Spanish border to Norway. Thousands of bunkers were constructed to protect the ports and to prevent an Allied assault. The Atlantikwall also features the only preserved German coastal battery from the First World War, namely the Aachen battery. This battery consisted of guns, observation bunkers and living quarters for soldiers. The Germans built batteries along the Belgian coast out of fear for an Allied landing on the beach and to protect the ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend (the operating bases of the German submarines). Only the remains of the Aachen battery have been preserved. During the Second World War new defences were constructed at the same location within the scope of the Atlantikwall defence line. The open-air museum is the perfect place to experience the atmosphere of the ‘Longest Day’. All constructions on the site were restored to their original condition and furnished with authentic objects and furniture. The museum of the same name introduces you to some of the most impressive defences from both wars. These have been preserved thanks to the Belgian Prince Charles, who lived here until his death and always opposed their destruction.
Open from 19th March - 13th November
School holidays, weekends and public holidays: 10.30am to 6.00pm and weekdays from 10.30am to 5.00pm.
Nieuwpoortsesteenweg 636
B-8400 Oostende
Tel: +32 (0)59 70 22 85
Email info@raversyde.be
Close to the car park there is a good restaurant that also takes groups and serves drinks, light meals and regional dishes.
Tavern-Restaurant Walrave
Tel: +32 (0)59 30 62 44
Fax: +32 (0)59 30 62 43
Email: walrave@telenet.be
Vrij Vaderland, Veurne
King Albert I, operating from Veurne City Hall, gave orders for the plans by Karel Cogge from Veurne to be implemented during the night of 28th to 29th October 1914. The Yser plain between Nieuwpoort and Diksmuide was flooded, whereupon the front line came to a halt and Veurne became a ‘city behind the front line’ for a period of four years.
Veurne was largely spared any heavy bombing so life in the region was able to carry on. Aid stations and hospitals were set up, while even the Nobel Prize Winner Marie Curie and her daughter, who introduced X-ray technology, stayed in Veurne. The presence not only of Belgian troops but also of French (colonial) soldiers provided some much-needed amusement.
Open from 1st April to 11th November from Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm, weekends & public holidays from 10.00am to 5.00pm
From 12th November to 31st March Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm, weekends & public holidays from 1.00pm to 5.00pm
Grote Markt 29
8630 Veurne
Tel: +32 (0)58 33 55 31
Email: info@vrijvaderland.be

Mons Memorial Museum
The exhibits on display, selected from the 5,000 included in the military history collections belonging to the City of Mons, ask some fundamental questions about the relationship between the civilian and military population. These questions come to life in an experience that will guide visitors from the middle Ages, through the “Ancien Régime”, right up to the two World Wars. It includes the last gun fired on the Western Front by the Canadians that was presented to the city of Mons by the Canadian Government.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00am until 6.00pm.
Mons Memorial Museum
Boulevard Dolez, 51
7000 Mons
Tel: +32 (0)65 39 59 39
Email form on the website.

King Albert 1 and the Great War, Rumbeke
The Castle of Rumbeke is the oldest Rennaissance castle in Belgium. It's connections with King Albert 1 and the history of the First World War.
Moorseelsesteenweg 2
8800 Rumbeke-Roeselare
Tel: +32 (0)51 26 97 18
Email: info@albert14-18.be

Fort Breendonk Memorial
In July 1914, when war broke out, the fort – unlike its neighbours – was not finished. To clear the view for the gunners, Colonel Génie Van Weyenberghe destroyed nearly 200 houses in the town of Willebroek on 9 August 1914 (Westdijck, Palingstraat, Oude Dendermondsesteenweg, Steenweg op Tisselt).
It was only on 9 September that the German High Command ordered General von Besler to take Antwerp the bombardment of the forts began on 28th September. Breendonk was bombarded for the first time on 1st October. On 1st, 6th and 8th October, the Breendonk fort was hit by 563 Austrian 305mm mortar gun projectiles, shells fired by artillery some 8 or 9 km beyond the range of its own artillery. On 8th October, the fort underwent very heavy bombardment. 305mm shells rained down and one of them fell down a chimney before exploding between two barrack rooms. The Fort commander, Captain Wijns, was seriously injured and died shortly afterwards. The fort was taken the following day and the surrender of Antwerp was complete.
During the Second World War it was used as a concentration camp.
Between September 1940 and September 1944, around 3,500 prisoners passed through Breendonk.
Open every day from 9.30am to 5.30 pm.
From 1st July to 31st August from 10.00am until 6.00pm.
Closed on 1st January, 24th and 25th December.
GPS: Longitude 51° 03’ 29’’     Latitude 4° 20’ 30’’
Brandstraat 57
2830 Willebroek
Tel: + 32 (0)3 860 75 24
Email: info@breendonk.be
German Pioneer Pillbox, Comines
An entact German that can be visited that has a number of artefacts and photographs relating to the First World War. The village was occupied by the Germans for four years and its history is covered too.
Open on the first Sunday of each month from May to November between 2.00opm and 6.00pm.
Pionier Blackhaus 14-18
Chemin des Alôs 4
7780 Comines
Tel: +32 (0) 56 55 80 81
Email: f.maekelberg@belgacom.net or otcomines@gmail.com

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