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Things to Do in Flanders - page 2

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Hooge Crater Museum
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The Hooge Crater Museum, outside of Ypres, has life-sized representations of war scenes on display to help visitors better understand the history of World War I, especially in Flanders. The scenes include German bunkers, British trenches, and full scale horses with cavalry troops on their backs. Other displays include an extensive collection of weapons, uniforms, photographs, and other military artifacts.

The crater was formed on July 19, 1915. Around this time of the war, the German troops had an excellent overview of the British front line in the Ypres Salient area. The British troops tried to eliminate this with a targeted attack. They exploded more than 3,700 pounds of dynamite in a tunnel, which formed a crater that was later called the Hooge Crater. Today the crater is filled with water.

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Lace Centre & Museum (Kantcentrum)

The Kantcentrum, or Lace Center, is a lace museum and learning center in Brugge, Belgium. It is located in the Apostoline Sisters' former lace school, which is a renovated building from 1899. The building is part of the estate of the Adornes family who were originally from Genoa, Italy in the 14th century. The Lace Center museum explores the origins of lace and its early developments. Different displays show basic techniques and movements, types of lace and their geographic origins, the lace industry's history and what the industry is like today, and lace teaching in Brugge. The traditions of lace are honored here along with more contemporary forms. While visiting the museum, you can also watch the center's bobbing lace-making demonstrations. Visitors can also explore different techniques and aesthetics, as well as learn about the lace industry itself, in an interactive way.

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More Things to Do in Flanders

Tyne Cot Cemetery

Tyne Cot Cemetery

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29 Tours and Activities
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Essex Farm Cemetery

Essex Farm Cemetery

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The Essex Farm Cemetery is a World War I burial site outside of Ypres, Belgium. There are 1,200 servicemen buried or commemorated here, including 103 unidentified soldiers. Essex Farm was an Advanced Dressing Station during the war, so many of the casualties handled there were laid to rest in this cemetery. Remains of some of the bunkers used for medical services can still be seen near the cemetery. There is also a memorial to the 49th West Riding Division. John McCrae, a World War I soldier who fought in the Ypres Salient battlegrounds, wrote a poem called “In Flanders Fields” after a friend of his was killed. It is believed that he was in the area of the Essex Farm Advanced Dressing Station when he wrote it. In the poem, he talks about the poppies in Flanders fields, and his short but moving poem became well known. Because of this poem, the poppy has become a symbol of remembrance.

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Vladslo German War Cemetery

Vladslo German War Cemetery

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Yser Tower (IJzertoren)

Yser Tower (IJzertoren)

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Dodengang (Trench of Death)

Dodengang (Trench of Death)

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Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

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The Battle of Passchendaele in summer and fall 1917 was one of the bloodiest and most futile of World War I; in just over 100 days more than half a million soldiers were killed and in that time Allied troops advanced on the Germans by a mere five miles (eight km) amid the trenches of the Ypres Salient in Flanders.

The museum dedicated to the fallen victims of the battle is found in a small chateau in the village of Zonnebeke, the scene of heavy fighting south of Bruges. It was opened in 2004 and the main exhibition follows the sorry story of the battle; a new display entitled ‘Remembrance’ focuses on the aftermath of the war for the soldiers, local civilians and the beleaguered Flanders landscape. Along with black-and-white images, weaponry, uniforms and heart-rending personal letters, the museum has a reconstructed dug out and a replica line of trenches constructed in the chateau grounds in 2013.

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Canals of Bruges (Brugse Reien)

Canals of Bruges (Brugse Reien)

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Bruges is often referred to as the Venice of the north due to its many canals. Though the city is located inland, it is close enough to the coast that several floods resulted in the formation of these waterways. This gave Bruges access to the sea, and the city became an important trading center. By the Middle Ages, the canals had to be enlarged so the cargo ships could reach the city. However, as the main connections to the sea began to silt up, Bruges began to decline as a trade center.

Today commercial ships no longer sail through the waterways of Bruges. Instead the canals are used only by tourist boats. Five families, each with four boats, have exclusive access to provide tours along the canals. Bruges has had a strong connection with the water for centuries, and taking a boat tour on the canals is one of the best ways to learn about this connection and the city's history while taking in the sights.

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