It’s almost 100 years ago that World War I drew a line of trenches through Europe; in the renewed ‘In Flanders Fields’ museum in Ypres you can relive these waryears. Yesterday I paid a visit.
The museum certainly has its good and bad points.
First of all it looks very cool. The way the collection is displayed is fresh, new, modern,… The infoboards are very understandable although somehow superficial. Luckily this is compensated by the personal story of those who lived during the great war. These tales are recorded on movie by actors and showed on large screens through the museum. Other examples of displaying which I found cool was a collection of artifacts found in a tunnel. The artifacts are displayed below a tv-screen which shows how these things were excavated. Another example was a very simple piece of wood; a cross section of a tree. Halfway the annual rings there were black spots, made by exploding shells. It shows how the first world war is present everywhere in the ‘Westhoek’.
Another asset is a personal bracelet which can be scanned at scanningpoints through the museum. It gives access to information about the exhibits or to interactive screens with maps, movies, …
Off course there are also some bad points. There’s not really a route through the museum. You have to go from the left to the right and back if you want to see it all. There were quite allot of people in the museum which made it difficult to have a good look at everything or use your bracelet. Like I already said, the information is a little to superficial. It’s the story of what happened during World War one (in Flanders) and it gives some more information about medicine, trenches, aerial photography. But some parts are unexposed.
For the aviation enthusiasts: Nothing about aviation (just a part about aerial photography). Yet, ‘In Flanders Fields’ is certainly a must go for those interested in world war one and/or those visiting Ypres and surroundings.
The price is €8 for adults (+25); €1 for -25; -7 is for free. You have to pay 1€ for your bracelet but you get your Euro back if you return your bracelet. It’s another €2 extra if you wish to visit the belfry, which gives a very good look over the battlefields. I really recommend this but it’s not for those with fear of heights!
More information about ‘In Flanders Fields’: http://www.inflandersfields.be/
Photo copyright: In Flanders Fields Museum