In Flanders Fields

Poppies in Flanders Fields

From 1914 to 1918, Flanders Fields was a major battle theatre on the Western Front during the First World War. A million soldiers from more than 50 different countries were wounded, missing or killed in action here. Entire cities and villages were destroyed, their population scattered across Europe and beyond. The destruction of the city of Ypres and the brutal conditions endured during the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres) became worldwide symbols for the senselessness of war. Today the peaceful region still bears witness to this history through its monuments, museums, cemeteries and the countless individual stories that link it with the world.

The remembrance of the First World War will always live on in Flanders. In places such as the Menin Gate, where the Last Post sounds every evening, Tyne Cot Memorial and Cemetery (the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world) and the many, many memorials dedicated to the fallen and the missing. Also, the poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’, by John McCrae, went on to inspire the use of the poppy, which once grew on the battlefields of Flanders Fields, to become an enduring symbol of remembrance across the world. 

Flanders Fields history

On 4 August 1914, the German army invaded Belgium. The Germans demanded that King Albert to grant them free passage through the country, so that they could attack the French from the rear and defeat them. The king refused and the famous Schlieffen plan was launched to impose Germany’s military will by force. On 12 August at Halen (in the province of Limburg) Uhlans of the German cavalry (light cavalry armed with lances) attempted to charge a strong Belgian position with naked swords.

German troops in Antwerp

The Way to Flanders Fields

The German advance was now moving more slowly than the German high command had originally hoped. At several places, the Germans believed that they were shot by ’civilians’

Flooding of the Yzer

The battles of Ypres

After the German advance through Belgium and eastern France was stopped by an Allied victory in the Battle of the Marne in late September 1914, the so-called "Race to the Sea" began.

Celebrating armistice

The Armistice

At the beginning of November an armistice was signed in a railway carriage near the French town of Compiègne.The First World War finally came to an end.


The Reconstruction

After the war, the majority of refugees returned home, ruins were cleared away and the battlefields were cleaned up. The old houses and monuments were gradually rebuilt, one by one.

Visit Flanders Fields in 48 hours

Do you need some inspiration for your trip to Flanders Fields? These itineraries will give you some great ideas for a trip.

Flanders Fields Highlights

Flanders Fields is dotted with hundreds of relics, monuments and cemeteries which have great historical significance for the people of many nations. 

Buttes new brititsh cemetery
The Battle of Passchendaele, discover the story and the traces of this Third Battle of Ypres in Flanders Fields.
Bayernwald Wijtschate trenches
The Battle of Messines or battle of the mines from 7 - 9 June 1917 was a preparatory step to the larger 3rd Battle of Ypres Offensive in 1917.

The landscape of Flanders Fields. A witness of World War I

Dodengang Diksmuide

27 WWI memorial sites in Flanders Fields recognised as Unesco World Heritage


How to get to Flanders Fields?

Plan your trip with the useful travel information on how to get to Flanders and how to visit Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields ©In Flanders Fields Museum
hotel room

Where to stay?

Looking for a place to stay in and around Ypres and Flanders Fields? Here you can book an accommodation to suit your needs.  

Planning to visit with a (school)group? Some great group accommodations are waiting to welcome you. Take a look on the websites of: Peace Village in Messines, Menin Gate in Ypres, Regional Flanders Fields website and Youth Hostels in Flanders.

Trade and press

Whether you’re a professional journalist, a travel trade professional or an influencer, here you can obtain images, sign-up to our e-learning platform to become a ‘Flanders Master’ and find useful information for organizing your trip to Flanders Fields. If you require further assistance, please contact the trade or press manager in your country.

Talbot House - Every man's club

Memories of Flanders Fields

From 1914 to 1918 Flanders Fields was a major battle theatre in the First World War. Today, the peaceful region still bears witness to this history in monuments, museums, cemeteries and the countless individual stories that link it with the world. Come and discover them for yourself.