De IJzertoren - Diksmuide - Belgium

Address: IJzerdijk 49, Diksmuide (See map)
Telephone: +32 (0)51-500286

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: not available
Size of the museum/site: small
Year of visit: 2000, revisited in 2003

Overall rating:

Description: The "IJzertoren" is the focal point for the yearly "IJzerbedevaart", organised to commemorate the Great War and the Flemish wish for emancipation (the Flemish people felt suppressed by the ruling French-speaking elite). It also houses a museum dealing with both World Wars (with the emphasis on the emancipation struggle of the Dutch-speaking soldiers during the First World War). The IJzertoren (meaning "IJzer"-tower) is named after the river "IJzer" wich formed the frontline during most of the Great War. Here, the German advance in Belgium was finally put to a halt at a terrible cost of human lives.

In our opinion the exhibition consists of too much text-panels and documentation, and too little real war-related items. Strong points are the way the roots and heart of the Flemish struggle for emancipation are portrayed, the superb view you get when standing on the top of the tower, and the opportunity to experience the smell of Mustardgas, one of the terrible chemical weapons invented and used during the Great War.

Picture of the "IJzerbedevaart" a yearly ritual to commemorate the first World War and acknowledge the importance of peace and Flemish self-government.

The "IJzertoren". AVV-VVK stands for "Alles Voor Vlaanderen - Vlaanderen Voor Kristus", meaning "Everything For Flanders - Flanders For Christ".

Poster produced after the Great War, showing the nonsense of warfare and 'fighting for the fatherland'. The text means "Loyal to the death".

Leaded window showing a Flemish soldier at the Front. The AVV-VVK logo is visible in the sky above.

At the top of the IJzertoren, you can enjoy a magnificent view over Diksmuide and its surroundings.

Belgian helmet and binoculars.

A realistic view of the depressing atmosphere and soldiers' state of mind associated with enduring trench warfare.

Mute evidence of the difficult struggle for equality of the Flemish people in Belgium. The text means something like "Here is our blood, now where is our right (for equal treatment and equal chances)?", the logic behind it being that the huge sacrifices the Flemish population brings during the war, earns them their right for equal treatment.

One of the many posters announcing the yearly IJzerbedevaart.