As you’ll no doubt be aware, 2014 marks the centenary of the start of World War I in Europe and over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be taking a look at a number of commemorations planned and taking place across France and Belgium, paying homage to this defining period of history. First up is the Belgian capital, Brussels, and a fascinating exhibition opening at the end of February (26th February 2014 to 26th April 2015).
Entitled “14-18, it’s our history”, Brussels’ Royal Museum of the Army and Military History (Musée Royal de l’Armée et d’Histoire Militaire) opens its doors to a truly remarkable retrospective devoted to the Great War. Through its unique collection of original artefacts, personal accounts, multimedia and films, the exhibition explores all aspects of the conflict, from the atrocities of the battlefields to the grim and unenviable everyday life in Belgium under German occupation. It also seeks to present the impact of war not only on a European scale, but on a global one, too, illustrating how the seismic events of 100 years ago have subsequently shaped and defined the 20th century both on the continent and worldwide.
Situated at Brussels’ Cinquantenaire Park, the museum is open from 9am until 5pm Tuesday to Friday and between 10am and 6pm during weekends, public and school holidays (closed Mondays). The visit last between 1½ – 2 hours and entrance costs 12€ (8€ for 6 – 18 year olds, free for children under 6 years of age). For more information, visit www.expo14-18.be.
So whether it’s a quick plane hop to the Belgian capital or gliding into the Gare du Midi, a short break to Brussels is effortlessly easy. Consider, too, combining with Antwerp, Bruges or Ghent for the ultimate journey of discovery through this most attractive country where in 2014, history really will be brought to life.