From 1914 to 1918, Flanders Fields was a major battle theatre on the Western Front during the First World War. A million soldiers from more than 50 different countries were wounded, missing or killed in action here. Entire cities and villages were destroyed, their population scattered across Europe and beyond. The destruction of the city of Ypres and the brutal conditions endured during the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres) became worldwide symbols for the senselessness of war. Today, the peaceful region still bears witness to this history through its monuments, museums, cemeteries and the countless individual stories that link it with the world.
The first IJzer Tower was built in Diksmuide in the 1930s, as a memorial to the Flemish soldiers who had died at the front, which ran along the line of the River IJzer between 1914 and 1918. During the Second World War, the site was the scene of various German-Flemish ceremonies. This original tower was destroyed by an explosion in 1946 and it was not until 1965 that a new structure arose, phoenix-like, from its ashes. In recent years, the tower has also housed a museum.
This fully renovated Museum on the IJzer tells the story of the Belgian-German front during the First World War, using the memoirs of soldiers, civilians and refugees on both sides of the line. In addition to a magnificent view over the old battlefields of the IJzer Front, the 84 metre-high tower also offers fine panoramas of Diksmuide and the Westhoek.
Pictures shot with
Canon EOS 750D