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Diksmuide - 100 years after the First World War

CURIOSITIES experience war and peace 1914-1918

 The IJzer Tower / museum on the IJzer

At walking distance from the Market Place you’ll find the Gate of Peace, the Crypt and the IJzer Tower. All together they form the European Peace domain. In this museum (22 floors) you’ll get an idea how life was during the First World War. Smell the chloral- and mustard gas, feel the fear of soldiers in the Trenches of Death. At a height of 84 meters you have a magnificent view over Diksmuide and the entire Westhoek region. At the end of 2013, the entire museum is getting upgraded.  Reopening February/March 2014.  Meanwhile, the city of Diksmuide is planning and creating a new parking lot and pick nick zone.

 The Trench of Death

This place, where regiment after regiment, the entire Belgian army by turns toiled, fought, struggled for life, was the heart of the resistance until the glorious offensive’s morning of 28 September 1918. This is one of the most evocative reminders of the war in the Westhoek. This kilometre-long network of revetments, saps and dug-outs was one of the most dangerous Belgian positions on the Western Front, situated just 50 metres from a German bunker.  As a result, the trench was subjected to almost constant fire from German snipers and machine guns…  This site is also getting an upgrade in 2013 and 2014.  Free entrance - visitors centre.

German military cemetery in Vladslo

25,638 soldiers found their resting-place at the German military cemetery of Vladslo – Praetbos. ‘The Grieving Parents’ is a moving sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz, an important German expressionistic artist. She created it out of sorrow and love for her 18 years old son Peter who was killed in the Great War.  The German Commonwealth War Graves Commission guarantees the renovation of walking routes at the German military cemetery and in the surrounding forest ‘Praetbos’. At the beginning of 2014 the visitors can - more than ever – experience a moment of contemplation on the German military cemetery and in ‘Peace Park Praetbos’ after the reconstruction of the street ‘Houtlandstraat’.

 

Belgian military cemetery in Keiem

628 soldiers, killed during the Battle of Tervaete and Keiem, are buried at the local Belgian military cemetery.

The Notre Dame of Victory Chapel

During the Great War this was a forward position of the Belgian army in Oud-Stuivekenskerke. The former bell tower became an important artillery observation post.

Reception network between ‘Frontzate’ and the river IJzer

The city of Diksmuide is working with permanent investments for the preservation, the good management and the restoration of the World War Heritage, the furnishing of sites and the disclosure by tourist routes.

Along the IJzer the visitor finds the greater part of the investments, with new parking places, an experience route in Kaaskerke and Stuivekenskerke, evocation of different World Ware sites like the ‘Petrol Tanks’ and ‘The Notre Dame of Victory Chapel’ and more piers on the IJzer.

 

New Tourist Information Centre!

A renovated Town Hall and a new Tourist Information Centre will open spring 2015. In 2015 the historic cellar will reopen, where the visitor has the opportunity to discover virtually the city or the region.

 

ROUTES experience war and peace 1914-1918

 

Cycle route ‘No more war’

37 km through the battlefields of Diksmuide with special attention for the former railway ‘Frontzate’ between Diksmuide and Nieuwpoort, the Notre Dame of Victory Chapel, Stuivekenskerke and Tervaete. Also the world-famous statues of Käthe Kollwitz - the Grieving Parents - are on the way…

 

Car route ‘IJzer Front’

The new IJzer Front car route is 74 km long and takes you to Nieuwpoort, Koekelare and Houthulst, three places close to Diksmuide with also a lot of interesting curiosities about the First World War…

Other experiences

Do you know the true story about the ‘Angels’ of Pervijze Elisabeth Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, two British nurses who arrived on the Belgian front, in Pervijze, November 1914? Come and discover it in Diksmuide!

In Esen (community of Diksmuide) the brewery of the ‘Crazy Brewers’ will offer you a great taste of excellent Belgian regional beers and if you want to get even more ‘high’ you can join a helicopter battlefield scenery tour with Heli Promotions!

There are much possibilities to enjoy the countryside such as cycling and walking, natural reserve the Blankaart, boat trips on the river IJzer, ‘No more war’ theme walks and cycle trips. And the North Sea coast is only 15 km (Nieuwpoort) away from Diksmuide!

The surrounding cities of Diksmuide offer more curiosities 1914-1918 for example the German military cemetery in Langemark and the Belgian military cemetery in Houthulst, the British Ypres Salient...

 

GROUPS welcome

 

Guided tour with touring car along the IJzer Front

World War I guided tour with a touring car: on this tour you will discover all the curiosities about the First World War in Diksmuide and above all enjoy a cup of coffee and typical ‘IJzerbollen’ (donuts), lunch and dinner in Diksmuide…

All groups can contact Tourism Diksmuide for any arrangements, guided tours, group visits and group restaurants.

Diksmuide has approximately 700 guestrooms available!

 

INFO

Tourism Diksmuide, Grote Markt 28, 8600 Diksmuide, West-Flanders, Belgium

telephone: 0032 51 79 30 50

toerisme@stad.diksmuide.be -   www.diksmuide.be\toerisme