Commemorating the Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo.
With the VE Day commemorations just passed, attention is turning to the marking of another momentous military event in European history, the 200th anniversary of the legendary Battle of Waterloo (18th June 1815).
As you might expect, there’s a whole programme of events lined up to commemorate the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, with re-enactments of the battle itself the stand out feature on the bill. June 18th sees the launch of the official programme with ‘Inferno’, setting the skies above Waterloo ablaze with a riot of pyrotechnic colour. The evening of June 19th meanwhile is dedicated to the French attack whilst the following night is devoted to the Allied counterattack, both of which have long sold out. During the day (unfortunately also sold out), are the ‘bivouacs’, offering a fascinating insight into the logistical organisation behind the war, from the care of the wounded and maintenance of weaponry to the changing of the watch and training of young recruits.
Beyond the highly popular re-enactments, there’s also a number of other activities taking place in and around the town. The Pass 1815 gives you access to six of the main attractions on the battlefield including the Wellington Museum (in Waterloo), Lion’s Hamlet (5km south of the town) and Napoleon’s Last Headquarters (another 4km south). Opening tomorrow meanwhile (May 29th until July 31st) at the Écuries de Waterloo is an exhibition devoted to the history of Napoleon constructed entirely from Lego, incorporating more than one million of the distinctive plastic bricks. Having taken over 5,000 hours to build, this is a fantastic way to introduce the family to the history and importance of Waterloo.
Of course, most visitors will come to Waterloo for its historical and military associations yet the town also offers other highlights. Why not take in the Folon Foundation, paying homage to the work of Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon? And whilst you’re there, take a walk amongst the thousands of rhododendrons adorning the grounds of the Solvey Estate.
In such an important commemorative year, and with the town such a short distance from the Belgian capital (a mere 17-minute direct train ride away from Brussels’ Midi train station for trains departing on the hour), Waterloo is most definitely a daytrip to consider on your Brussels city break.