The History of the Site
On these floors, we tell you about how the site was created, its history, and the Yser Pilgrimage.
We show how an annual commemoration has emerged from the memory of the First World War: a pacifist, Flemish nationalist pilgrimage to the graves at the Yser, known as the Yser Pilgrimages. You can see photographs showing these pilgrimages. You will see how a small movement during the First World War grew into a gathering with a decisive influence on policy in the years after the war.
You will also gain insight into the history of the site. Find out how the construction of a huge memorial to the heroic dead, the Yser Tower, helped to ensure the site’s expansion into a symbolic place for the Flemish nationalist movement, through both the pilgrimages and symbolic acts. For example, fallen soldiers were reinterred in the crypt of the tower, and the symbols known as ‘Yser symbols’, the stone of Merkem and the Nieuwpoort Cross were added.
We present our history with the necessary critical sense and distance, in a spirit of plurality.