The Belgian front at the Yser

THE BELGIAN FRONT AT THE YSER (HALF DAY)

Departing from De Panne we drive to Nieuwpoort. We visit the Belgian memorials and the locks at De Ganzenpoot (the ‘Goose Paw’ Locks system). From here the inundation of the Yser plains was established. Specially trained troops, together with civilian Hendrik Geeraert, kept flooding the plains all throughout the war, thus keeping the Germans from pushing through to Dunkirk and the English Channel coastline in France.

From Nieuwpoort we drive to Pervijze and the Yser banks to arrive at the Trench of Death at Diksmuide. This unique system of Belgian trenches also has an interesting museum, maintained by the Belgian army.
Lunch (picnic) is possible in Diksmuide with hot soup and soft drinks available.

Return to De Panne or start a new itinerary.

THE BELGIAN FRONT AT THE YSER (FULL DAY)

Departing from De Panne we drive to Nieuwpoort. On the way to Nieuwpoort we stop at the Belgian military cemetery at Ramskapelle. It was here – along the old railway track – that the Battle of the Yser was fought between German and French/Belgian troops in October 1914. Next onwards to Nieuwpoort to visit the Belgian memorials and the locks at De Ganzenpoot (the ‘Goose Paw’ Locks system). From here the inundation of the Yser plains was established. Specially trained troops, together with civilian Hendrik Geeraert, kept flooding the plains all throughout the war, thus keeping the Germans from pushing through to Dunkirk and the English Channel coastline in France. From Nieuwpoort we drive to Pervijze and the Yser banks to arrive at the Trench of Death at Diksmuide. This unique system of Belgian trenches also has an interesting museum, maintained by the Belgian army.

At Stuivekenskerke we find the relics of a Belgian outpost in the flooded no-man’s land of the Yser sector. Onwards to Diksmuide for lunch (picnic with hot soup and/or soft drinks).

After lunch we continu to the German military cemetery at Vladslo. The peaceful place also boasts the impressive statues of ‘The Mourning Parents’ by German sculptor Käthe Kollwitz. Her son Peter lays buried at the feet of the Father figure.

Next onwards to Koekelare to see the site of the Lange Max, a massive gun that was set up here to threaten the port of Dunkerque. The local museum also focusses on the war period in the area. On the way back to De Panne we visit Veurne, the military headquarters of the Belgian army for most of the war. Some interesting sites still tell that specific story and a brand new museum tells the story of the Great War in the small area of Belgium that was still in Belgian hands.

Return to De Panne for dinner.