The March of the Phoenix
An engaging memorial walk for young people
More than one hundred years after the end of the Great War, we take a closer look at the commemoration and explore its meaning and relevance. Who do we commemorate? How do we do that? And why? Like the first pilgrims, participants today bring their own rituals and traditions to the Flanders Fields battlefields to remember their loved ones.
During this walk we will visit recent graves at the local military cemetery and perform a traditional Maori ceremony at the New Zealand Memorial Park. In addition, we will leave the beaten path and explore the beautifully lit Irish Peace Park with its distinctive round tower. This walk can be adapted according to age and is possible as an evening activity.
Be sure to bring appropriate footwear and possibly a flashlight!
In the footsteps of the Kiwis
A fascinating walk through the wartime landscape
During this 3.5-kilometer walk, we explore the Messines battlefield with emphasis on the Messines Battle of June 7, 1917. We visit the New Zealand Cemetery and New Zealand Memorial Park, the German bunkers and we discover traces in the landscape with aerial photographs and maps.
We follow the story of L. Cpl. Samuel Frickleton to the church and explore the new visitor center in the marketplace. If you like, you can climb the church tower for a panoramic view. This hike can be extended with a visit to the Pool of Peace mine crater (5 km) or the Craters and Mines hike.
Be sure to provide appropriate footwear!
Christmas files in Messines
An extraordinary Christmas story past atmospheric locations
In October 1914, peaceful Messines was hit by World War I. We discover its historical impact at the Tourist Information Point through panoramic photos and anecdotes. For example, did you know that Adolf Hitler spent Christmas 1914 in Messines? We follow his trail through pictures and drawings through picturesque Messines.
In the 11th-century crypt under St. Nicholas Church, we hear the poignant story of a young soldier who narrowly missed Christmas. Together we walk to the old front line and role-play what exactly happened on that conscious Christmas night in 1914. It is a moving story of reconciliation and friendship, albeit only for a while, before war breaks out again.
Gin is available for adults, otherwise fruit juice
Available only between November and February. Be sure to provide appropriate footwear!