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War Museum Bastogne - Belgium
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member koetje1977
N 50° 00.635 E 005° 44.349
31U E 696250 N 5543402
Quick Description: The new museum route of Bastogne War Museum offers a modern memorial center and interactive context of the causes, events and consequences of the Second World War through the prism of the Battle of the Bulge. An impressive experience.
Location: Luxembourg, Belgium
Date Posted: 8/7/2014 2:50:33 PM
Waymark Code: WMM81M
Views: 9

Long Description:
Dedicated to the remembrance of the Second World War, the Bastogne War Museum provides across two floors a step back in time to the Battle of the Bulge: a German campaign that was launched in the Ardennes, which caught the allies off guard resulting in one of the highest number of casualties for the Americans in a single attack.
The objective of both the memorial and the museum is: ‘To honor the memory of those who fought for our freedom and to uphold the values of peace and freedom.'

The museum provides a general background along with details and the subsequent consequences, including details of some of the soldiers.

One such person is Sergeo, an American soldier who found himself caught up in the battle. There, he had become injured, was discovered among the front with frostbite and went from hospital to hospital seeking help. Eventually, he found refuge at one hospital where, in addition to his recovery, he fell in love with one of the nurses.

As Sergeo relayed his account in person, tears fell from my eyes as the reality of the museum and its exhibits took on a whole new meaning. It is one thing to witness a holistic overview of the war and specific battles, but quite another to meet and speak with a veteran whose efforts provide us with many of the freedoms so many of us enjoy today.

Inside the museum
The two floors provide insight across three different stages: the pre war years, understanding the invasion in 1940 and the liberation in 1944, and the period from December 1944 till the end of the war.

Deigned and thought out over a ten-year period, the architectural style of the museum is somewhat modern enabling both the inclusion of a number of tanks within the exhibition space, along with three rooms, known as Scenovisions, which have been designed specifically to enable a greater visual impact.

The first Scenovision displays imagery in 3D animating the Second World War with a particular focus on the Axis forces between 1939 and 1943. The focus here is less on Belgium but on the wider political events of the time.

The second Scenovision is a recreation of a forest bordering Bastogne, where the floor in front is covered in debris and shell holes. The objective is to give the visitor an experience of a trench like environment as soldiers are dug into foxholes to protect themselves from the cold and bullets. There are two vertical screens at the far end of the room along with another ceiling on which imagery of the forest and sky are projected.

The third Scenovision, and perhaps my personal favorite, recreates a tavern in Bastogne where we witness life before, during and after a bomb drop, moving into the cellar where the civilians are seeking shelter.

Between them, these three animated scenes enable visitors of all ages to better understand the impact and context of what took place in Bastogne.

In addition to which, a wide selection of interesting items have been put on display, including documents with Mussolini’s signature, objects relating to Belgium’s participation in the Berlin Olympic games, a wide selection of uniforms, letters from concentration camps and even a cigarette case from the Nuremburg trials.

The Mayor of Bastogne, Benoit Lutgen said about the Bastogne War Museum, “It is a new museum to thank American soldiers and [the] American people.” One of his colleagues continued, “The story of the museum is all about the people, all about four characters: a young boy from Bastogne, his teacher and two solders, an American and a German one. It is about their story and their feelings during the battle.”
Having seen the museum, Sergeo added with his sharp New Jersey accent, “It really is a great museum; it’s something nice that people have a chance to see.”

These are sentiments which I personally share, for if common sense does not prevent us from fighting wars, perhaps by witnessing the destruction caused by wars through memorials and museums, we will be one step closer to remembering the importance of peace.

The museum includes a shop selling a number of war related memorabilia, a café and an al fresco dining area for those days when the sun shines. Audio guides in multiple languages are made available and for those seeking even more detail they can book a tour guide.

The building is also wheelchair friendly. For those wishing for further insight, the Bastogne Barracks, an interpretative center that also provides tours is located just 5km away. Within the complex, one can also find the Belgian mechanized museum, two large hangers in which a selection of tanks and other military vehicles are put on display. Speaking to the commander of the barracks, we discovered that his favorite tank on display was the M24 Chaffee which had two Cadillac engines.
Related Website: [Web Link]

Supplementary Related Website: [Web Link]

Admission Fee: Adult fare : 12 € ! Children (6 -18 years) and students : 8 € ! Children under 6 years : free

Opening Days/Times:
Open daily except on Monday (Please note that the Bastogne War Museum is open on Monday during school holidays and public holidays falling on Monday) 10 am to 6 pm - from Tuesday until Sunday and public holidays outside school holidays - from Monday until Sunday and public holidays during school holidays 10 am to 7 pm in July-August (every day) - from Monday until Sunday and public holidays Annual closing: from the 1st Monday after Christmas holidays until the beginning of the school holidays of Carnival Closed exceptionally on January 1st and December 25th

Visit Instructions:
Posting a picture(s) of the location would be nice although not required.
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