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When the Germans attacked our country in 1914, the troops in and around Mechelen suffered heavy casualties. Soldiers barely had time to bury their fallen comrades. A hastily dug grave was the fate of many who were left behind. Time was of the essence and the City of Mechelen created an excavation service under the leadership of Hendrik Haesen during the first months of the occupation.

Hendrik and his team set out looking for these graves around Mechelen. Even calling upon the German occupier when met with uncooperative landlords. No less than 892 soldiers, of different nationalities were transferred to th...

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This book presents you with a forgotten adventure, viz. that of the “national regiments” recruited in the Austrian Netherlands, i.e. present-day Belgium. They opposed both Frederic the Great and Napoleon. These volunteer elite soldiers were not that numerous, but enjoyed quite a reputation, as the Habsburg “Walloons” participated in all battles. Moreover, their officers – noblemen from a rather small territory – established an extremely professional military tradition. They played a major part in the Austrian army’s chain of command and military style.

This unprecedented approach of a largely untapped subject i...

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Have you already visited a War Heritage Institute site? Or do you plan to do so, perhaps even in the near future? Participate in the War Heritage Institute survey and indicate what you expect from a visit to the War Heritage Institute.

That will enable us to match your expectations more closely.

Click here.

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Last Tuesday the Bovington Tank MuseumTankmas 2020” event was presented to the public in live streaming. The War Heritage Institute had been invited to participate in the event through a short video about its collections. The stream was a success and was followed by thousands of people: almost 40,000 views up till now!

Discover the superb coverage through following links:

→ The complete video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0GxUGkgNa0

→ The War Heritage Institute fragment: https://youtu.be/U0GxUGkgNa0?t=6999

→ The Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=401343904652450

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We draw your attention to an interesting item about Fernand Allard L'Olivier, the painter from Tournai, realized by Notélé. The Royal Military Museum safeguards the largest collection of works the official Belgian army painter dedicated to the First World War. A must-see!

https://www.notele.be/it92-media89559--falo-de-l-escaut-au-fleuve-congo-portrait-du-peintre-tournaisien-fernand-allard-l-olivier-1883-1933.html?fbclid=IwAR2OdR5WhWdQz6rCDnMn5zxyUksWlSh001R8PlIx3g1drDyP2LNRQf24SnM

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Hundreds of love letters written during the Second World War were saved from destruction. They could be handed over to the family through a tweet by Cécile, an employee of an environmental agency in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches du Rhône) who had been detached to a recycling site in Saint-Jean-d’Angély (Charente-Maritime) for a few days. She decided to put a message on Twitter to locate the author and the addressee of the letters. Her message was shared over 10,000 times … and Cécile reached her goal: a family member contacted her through the social network. The letters belonged to Pierre and Aimée. The couple had mar...

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The ceremonies for the 76th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge took place without public and the Nuts weekend in Bastogne therefore was virtual.

Bastogne Barracks had not organized any activities, but its large vehicle hall was accessible upon reservation. The weekend counted three highlights: the inauguration of the monument honouring nurses Renée Lemaire and Augusta Chiwy, the unveiling of the plaque thanking American patrons at the Mardasson and the inauguration of the completely refurbished Boggess fort. Three vehicles from the War Heritage Institute Bastogne Barracks site were present, among them the S...

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The Defence military cemeteries are characterized by their uniformity. However, Joseph Naus’ tombstone in the Belgian military cemetery of Steenkerke is an exception to that rule. A German bullet ended the life of 19-year old Private Naus in the trenches at Pervijze. He is one of the few to be buried under a tombstone largely different from the well-known Belgian model.

We thank Jean-Luc Baerckmans for this information!

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Human Rights Day is celebrated each year on the 10 December, because on that day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This text sets out basic or fundamental rights, and, to this day, has huge significance as a general, moral and legal standard, and is frequently used as a source text for new international conventions or amendments of the constitution. Human rights activists and organisations use it as a point of reference for their operations.

Each year, all of the member nations of the UN are invited to celebrate this event. Each year the WHI site the...

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Dear visitors,

The War Heritage Institute sites are once again open to the public and adapt their timetables during the end-of-year period.


Reservation is mandatory, either by email or by phone (during opening hours):

Royal Military Museum (open from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.):
National Memorial of Fort Breendonk (open from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.):
Trench of death (Dixmude) (open from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.):
  • Opening d...

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