Choose from 5 Fun Things to Do in Wallonia
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In winter 1944/1945, German forces made one last desperate attempt to punch through the Allied lines stretching between Luxembourg and Antwerp in a move the Germans called the Ardennes Offensive and Allied forces called the Battle of the Bulge.
Located just north of Bastogne, the German War Cemetery at Recogne is where 6,807 German soldiers, many of whom lost their lives in the Ardennes Offensive, are laid to rest. Toward the end of the war, the cemetery held the remains of both U.S. and German soldiers, but the American war dead were relocated to Henri-Chapelle starting in 1946.
Unlike other military cemeteries where it’s standard to have a headstone for each fallen soldier, the German War Cemetery has multiple soldiers—as many as six—commemorated on each grave. A chapel in the northwest corner of the cemetery has the names of the dead, as well as their headstone location, etched inside.
The cemetery is free to enter, but the private organization charged with maintaining the facilities rely in part on donations for upkeep.
Address: Recogne, Belgium
From $ 201
Bastogne is a Walloon town in southern Belgium and it was scene of one of the most notorious struggles of World War II: the Battle of the Bulge took place in winter 1944–45 between the retreating Nazis and US troops during the final, ill-fated German offensive against the Allies. Most of the town’s attractions relate to this landmark battle, including the star-shaped Mardasson American War Memorial, which pays homage to the 80,000 US soldiers killed or wounded between December 1944 and the end of January 1945 in the closing days of the war.
Inaugurated in 1950, the white marble mausoleum was designed by Belgian modernist architect Georges Dedoyard to represent the five-pointed stars on the US flag, supported by slender columns and with a memorial garden at its heart. Inscriptions on the walls of the monument depict the insignia of the American battalions involved in the fighting and the names of the (then) 48 states of the USA. A subterranean crypt has three altars for multi-denominational prayers and is decorated with glittering mosaics by French artist Fernand Léger. Accessible by spiral
staircase, views from atop the memorial take in the rolling Ardennes countryside and the Wood of Peace, planted in 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge; plaques on the roof terrace indicate the layout of the battlegrounds.
Colline du Mardasson, 5, 6600 Bastogne. Open Feb–Jun,
Sept–Dec Tue–Sun 9.30am–6pm; Jul–Aug daily 9.30am–7pm. Entrance to the memorial is free. The museum is best reached by road and is under an hour from Luxembourg, Namur and Liège.
Address: Colline du Mardasson, 5, Bastogne, Wallonia 6600, Belgium
Hours: Feb–Jun, Sept–Dec Tue–Sun 9.30am–6pm; Jul–Aug daily 9.30am–7pm
From $ 68
Belgium’s 57-acre Henri Chapelle American Cemetery serves as the final resting place for 7,992 servicemen and women, most of who died during two major efforts of World War II. Henri Chapelle also served as a temporary cemetery for American war dead toward the end of the war, and the first remains returned to the United States for burial left from here.
Rows of headstones lay in an arc patterns extend across the gently sloping lawn. An overlook on the western side of the cemetery offers sweeping views over a former battlefield, and on the east lies a colonnade with a chapel and map room. Inside the map room, visitors will find two military operations maps carved into black granite. Outside, the names of 450 missing soldiers are inscribed into the colonnade pillars.
The cemetery is located about 2 miles (3 kilometers) northwest of Henri-Chapelle village near the German border.
Address: Rue du Mémorial Américain 159, Hombourg 4852, Belgium
From $ 230
Belgium has produced more comic-strip creators than any other country, and one of the world’s favorite comic characters flowed from the pen of Georges Remi, who breathed life into Tintin and his trusty terrier Snowy in 1927 under the name Hergé.
Tintin’s outlandish adventures are published in over 70 languages, and more than 200 million copies of all 24 titles have been sold around the world. Hergé is now commemorated at his own museum just outside Brussels.
The building itself was designed by French architect Christian de Portzamparc and the architecture is all part of the attraction -- a sparkling white, minimalist and box-like contemporary affair. One exterior wall of the building comprises a massive image of Tintin, while another bears Hergé’s distinctive signature. Although there are more than 800 original plates and drawings of Tintin on display in the museum, there are also samples of Hergé’s other graphic design and cartoons to be seen, taking their rightful place alongside an in-depth profile of the artist’s life.
Real aficionados can also follow the Tintin Trail around Brussels or buy copies of the cartoons from the Tintin Boutique just off Grand-Place at rue de la Colline 13.
The Musée Hergé is about 20 miles (30 km) southeast of Brussels in Louvain-la-Neuve and is accessible by public transport, shuttle bus or special tour. Admission is €9.50 (€7 for students and seniors), and opening hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and weekends until 6 p.m.
Address: Rue du Labrador, 26, Louvain-la-Neuve B-1348, Belgium
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10:30am-5:30pm, Saturday-Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm
Admission: Adults €9, Children €5
From $ 23
The Ardennes town of Bastogne is a Walloon town in southern Belgium and it was the site of one of World War II’s most notorious struggles, the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Most of the town’s attractions relate to this landmark battle, including the star-shaped Mardasson American War Memorial; the Wood of Peace, where 4,000 trees were planted on the 50th anniversary of the battle; and the Sherman tank that belonged to the US Army’s 11th Division. Opened in 2014 and housed in a striking contemporary building whose roof echoes the shape of the Mardasson memorial, the Bastogne War Museum relates the backstory of the build-up to World War II, from the US stock market crash in 1929 that heralded economic depression across the world, to the emergence of Nazi fanaticism in Germany. A collection of modern, interactive exhibits pays homage to the 76,890 US soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge through a series of personal testimonies, displays of uniforms, maps and weaponry, and graphic black-and-white footage of the battle’s aftermath. Vivid interactive displays allow visitors to experience machine-gun bombardment in a Bastogne café and gunfire in a mortar emplacement.
Colline du Mardasson, 5, 6600 Bastogne. Open Jul–Aug daily 9.30am–7pm; Sept–Jun Tue–Sun 9.30am–6pm. Closed Jan 4–Feb 5. Admission adults €12, children and students €8, under age 6 go free, family ticket €32. The museum is best reached by road.
Address: Colline du Mardasson 5, Bastogne, Belgium
Hours: Open Jul–Aug daily 9.30am–7pm; Sept–Jun Tue–Sun 9.30am–6pm. Closed Jan 4–Feb 5.
Admission: Adults €12, children and students €8, under age 6 go free, family ticket €32
From $ 16