Ieper

Ieper, Belgium was completely destroyed during the war. It has been beautifully reconstructed, including a faithful reproduction of the Cloth Hall. The Cloth Hall houses the In Flanders Fields Museum the most pacifistic war museum I’ve every been in. First there is a constant ominous drone, a music that gives the museum an undercurrent of foreboding. Second, many of the displays are about the dehumanization of the military. When displaying an uniform, they note that when a civilian joins the military his identity is taken away and replaced with a conforming uniform. They shows children’s games that promote militarism along with propaganda from each side. And as you leave the museum there are banners listing every war since WWI. This is not a museum so much about the history of war, but the history of collective insanity. The museum along with the Passchendaele museum bring the horrors that were the four battles of Ieper into focus. I didn’t take too many photos here, but the few I have will give you an idea of what Ieper is like.

Ieper: The Cloth Hall

Ieper: The Cloth Hall

Ieper: Detail of the Cloth Hall. These might be from the original Cloth Hall and owe their disfigured shape to the war

Ieper: Detail of the Cloth Hall. These might be from the original Cloth Hall and owe their disfigured shape to the war

Ieper: The town hall reconstruction

Ieper: The town hall reconstruction

Ieper: German propaganda poster showing that in for over a 100 years they were the least war-like nation

Ieper: German propaganda poster showing that for over a 100 years they were the least war-like nation

Ieper: Children's book showing the glories of war

Ieper: Children’s book showing the heroic French deaths

Ieper: At the exit of the museum is a list of every war since the WWI

Ieper: At the exit of the museum is a list of every war since the WWI

Ieper: There is quite a bit of WWI tourism on display, especially given the 100th anniversary

Ieper: WWI chocolates. There is quite a bit of WWI tourism on display, especially given the 100th anniversary

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