Designed to celebrate the half-centenary of Belgium’s 1830 independence, the Cinquantenaire (Jubelpark in Dutch, Golden Jubilee Park in English) was a massive work in progress from the 1870s until well into the 20th century. Extensive gardens surround a triumphal Arc du Cinquantenaire, topped by a bronze chariot and flanked by colonnaded pavilions housing three fine museums; plan to spend the day at the Museums in Parc du Cinquantenaire to do all three justice.
Tyn Cot in Flanders is the world’s largest Commonwealth cemetery. Its serried ranks are beautifully curated by the War Graves Commission, who raise millions of dollars per year to keep all the World War I cemeteries in perfect condition out of respect for the fallen soldiers.
The stately heart of Brussels since the 12th century, the gloriously OTT Grand-Place (or Grote Markt) is a humongous cobbled square that was built to reflect the wealth and power of Brussels as a trading city. Although most people visit the square to stare at the grandiose civic architecture and have an extortionately expensive coffee […]
Miniscule Bruges really punches above its weight with the sheer amount of fantastic artwork it has to offer. And the city collections are not just about Old Masters; the art treasures of Bruges also offer modern works from great names including Picasso and Dalí, all displayed against a backdrop of fine storic buildings.
Although the fighting on the Western Front never stopped from the moment the German army snuck into Luxemburg in August 1914 until the Armistice in November 1918, Flanders in May 1917 was scene of some of the fiercest fighting of World War I.
The WWI battlefields tour started with grey clouds and threatening skies. Light rain came and went throughout the morning. But by the afternoon there was a constant stream of rain. Our tour guide, Jean, a passionate historian, recounted the events leading up to the start of the war as we approached our first stop.
One of the best-loved festivals in Brussels kicks off over a May weekend, with venues throughout the city joining in. Brussels Iris Festival runs May 10-11 in 2014 and this year sees free concerts all over the city and street entertainment on street corner.
Tiny Bruges is home to canals, medieval architecture, breweries, and chocolate shops as well as some excellent museums. The five best museums in Bruges showcase the city’s historical connections with art, diamonds, brewing – and fries – adding to its reputation as a perfect weekend destination.