The German cemetery (2)
In the middle of the flat stones of the tombs, in the solitude of the meadows surrounded by trees, a small chapel houses a sober monument in the shape of a Greek cross supported by four stone lions mosaic.
Each stone is engraved with a score of names. The long lines are separated by only a few pairs of stone crosses.
The location of Menen, a few kilometres behind the front, allowing the installation of kitchens, ammunition ... and also field hospitals. This explains that here, unlike many other cemeteries, most of the dead are identified.
Au milieu des pierres plates des tombes, dans la solitude du prés entouré d'arbres, une petite chapelle sobre abrite un monument en forme de croix grecque supportée par quatre lions en pierres en mosaïque.
Chaque pierre est gravée d'une vingtaine de noms. Les longs alignements étant seulement entrecoupés de quelques couples de croix de pierre brute.
La situation géographique de Menin, à quelques kilomètres à l'arrière du front, permettait l'installation de cuisines, dépôts de munitions... et également d'hôpitaux de campagne et c'est ce qui explique qu'ici contrairement à de nombreux autres cimetières, la plupart des décédés sont identifiés.
The German cemetery
It is located on the northern edge of the city the "Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof" near Wevelgem. This is one more German cemetery of the First World War (1914-1918)
According to official 48,049 German military body's are grouped together. Indeed, in the sixties the Belgian authorities decided to merge all the German cemeteries in 6 locations.
The site requires humility, respect in the sense that all fighters (from both sides!) were equal before death. They did not necessarily choose to come and finish their short life in the Flanders field.
Il est situé à la limite nord de la ville le" Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof" près de Wevelgem. C'est l'un de plus cimetière Allemand de la première guerre mondiale (1914-1918)
De source officielle 48.049 militaires Germaniques y sont regroupés. En effet dans les années soixante les autorités Belges décidèrent de regrouper tous les cimetières Allemands en 6 endroits.
L'endroit impose l'humilité, le respect dans le sens ou tous les combattants (des 2 camps!) étaient égaux devant la mort. Il n'avaient pas forcement choisis de venir finir leurs trop courte vie dans les plaines de Flandre.
Visit the belfry
The belfry, as are all the belfries of Belgium, is entered in the UNESCO World Heritage since 1999.
Its construction, symbol of the rights and freedoms of the city, was begun in 1574. In 1576 the work is stopped (religious wars) in 1610, one resumed the construction. At the time, the tower had a floor below and was topped by a roof in arrow . In 1706, the roof was torn off, and later we began adding the top floor and later again a roof.
In 1794 French revolutionaries once again destroy the upper part. A new restoration takes place in 1828 and a new floor is added.
A carillon of 49 bells and a total weight of 5,000 kilograms is installed in its peak in 1962. The first carillon was from 1616! Since 2001 concerts regularly enliven the city center.
Since 2004, an orientation table was installed at the top.
Le beffroi, comme le sont tous les beffrois de Belgique, est inscrit au patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO depuis 1999.
Sa construction, symbole des droits et libertés de la ville, fût commencée en 1574. En 1576 les travaux sont arrêtés (guerres de religions) En 1610, on reprend la construction. A l'époque, la tour comptait un étage de moins et était surmontée d'un toit. En 1706, le toit est arraché, et plus tard on entreprends l'ajout du dernier étage puis par la suite de nouveau un toit.
En 1794 les révolutionnaires Français détruisent une nouvelle fois la partie supérieure. Une nouvelle restauration à lieu en 1828 et un étage est de nouveau additionner .
Un carillon de 49 cloches et d'un poids total de 5000 kilos est installé en son sommet en 1962. Le premier carillon était de 1616 ! Depuis 2001 des concert animent régulièrement le centre ville.
Depuis 2004 une table d'orientation a été installée au sommet.
The town hall
The town hall of Menen is a quadrilateral formed by several buildings. Destroyed many times during its history (French Revolution ,...) Around 1800, Napoleon order to restore. A second restoration in 2005 including the rehabilitation of the interior garden.
The current building dates from 1782, during the Austrian domination (Habsburg) The significance of Roman numerals at the top of the façade in classical style.
The statue on top represents the administration (left) and justice (right).
L'hôtel de ville de Menin est formé d'un quadrilatère de plusieurs bâtiments. Détruit de nombreuses fois durant son histoire (révolution française,...) Vers 1800, Napoléon fît restaurer. Une seconde restauration en 2005 réhabilitera notamment le jardin intérieur.
L'édifice actuel date de 1782, durant la période Autrichienne (Habsbourg) C'est la signification des chiffres romains en haut de la façade de style classique.
La statue au sommet représente l'administration (gauche) et la justice (droite)
The river Leie (Lys) for walking pleasure.
You can walk almost all along the River.
It takes its source in Lisbourg, France, regional Pas-de-Calais. From Armentières till Menen it forms the border between France and Belgium and cutting off some villages and town in 2 where as yet Wervick Comines.
It flows into the Scheldt in Ghent, where its waters are carried to Antwerp and then in the North Sea
Vous pouvez vous promener pratiquement tout le long du parcours de la rivière.
Elle prend sa source en France , à Lisbourg, en région Pas-de-Calais. Depuis Armentière jusqu'à Menen, elle forme la frontière entre la France et la Belgique coupant certains villages et villes en 2 comme Wervick où encore Comines.
Elle se jette dans l'Escaut à Gand où ses eaux seront charriées jusquà Anvers puis en mer du Nord.
Visit the casemates (bunkers)
The city was fortified in 1679 by order of King Louis XIV of France, but the (remains of) the current walls date back to 1817 (period under Dutch domination)
Under these defences, the casemates (bunkers) are a part of the fortifications. They are places covered, vaulted ceiling,in bricks here, allowing defenders to store food, ammunition, and so on.. A large layer of ground cover to soften the impact of projectiles.
The inhabitants of the Menen employed it during the last 2 wars as shelter. The bunkers whose visit is possible today are located next to the swimming pool. They are part of one (the Lys) of the eleven bastions that protected the city.
The visit is free every first Sunday of the month from May until September from 2 pm to 6 pm. Information: +32 56 53023063 or www.menen.be
La ville fût fortifiée depuis 1679 sur ordre du roi de France Louis XIV , mais les (vestiges de) remparts actuels datent de 1817 (période sous domination Hollandaise)
Dans le cadre de ces défenses, les casemates sont une partie des fortifications. Ce sont des endroits couverts, au plafond voûté, ici en briques, permettant aux défenseurs d'entreposer vivres, munitions, etc. Une grosse couche de terre les recouvrent afin d'amortir le choc des projectiles.
Les habitants de Menin le employèrent durant les 2 dernières guerres comme abris. Les casemates dont la visite est possible aujourd'hui sont situées juste à côté du bassin de natation. Elles sont une partie d'un (de la Lys) des onze bastions qui protégeaient la ville.
La visite est libre tous les premiers dimanche du mois à partir de mai jusqu'en septembre.de 14 à 18 heures. Informations:+32 56 53023063 ou www.menen.be
The Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof Menen 1914-1918 is probably the most unknown in Belgium. Even people from Menen, do not always know about it.......
It is one of the largest German graveyards of the first world war. There are 48.049 soldiers resting here (that is more than the sign at the entrance says-47.864)
In october 1914 the Germans occupied Menen, just a short distance from the front line (near Ieper), it was the perfect place for everything the soldiers needed including a graveyard.
More about this graveyard in our travelogue.
This windmill is dating back to 1798. It is made of stone and can be used to mill grain to flour. It actually worked up to 1948.
In 1993-95 the city Menen restored it, and since then it can actually be used again.
Easter to half september: sunday 14:00-17:30
Before 1566 Menen was an open city, without any defence. Then garde houses and barriers were built. When the low countries began to uprise against the spanish the fortification began in 1578. First an earthwall and moat. Five gates closed the city. The river was free. It was not enough the french soon occupied the area. King Lodewijk XIV ordered Vauban to make a fortress of Menen. Between 1679 and 1689 the city was strengthened with 11 bastions, 4 citygates and some outerwalls.
In 1706 the spanish destroyed a lot of this defence. In 1744 the french siege destroyed other parts. Other attacks made it into a complete ruin. From 1815 when Menen was part of the kingdom of the Netherlands it became an important defence at the southern border. And between 1817 and 1830 new walls were built along Vaubans walls. When Belgium became independant in 1850 large portions were demolished or sold. The city had to expand and the walls had to go. In 1990 they restored the parts that are still left.
In the small park at the Vander Mersch Plein stands the monument for the fallen. It is made by the sculptress Yvonne Serruys (1873 - 1953). She was born in Menen and died in Paris. If you want see more of her work go to the academy for music and word in the Y Serruysstraat. It was formerly a museum with her work, and now there are two pieces standing in front of the building.
Looking ancient from the outside, the interior is quit surprising. Very open and light.
The church was originally a part of a monastery. The monastery has gone and the present church dates from 1861. Inside are some older pieces though. Like the crypt of the brothers from the monastery and the altar dating from 1733.
In an old arm of the river Leie, not used anymore because the Leie is flowing south of it, you can find the old locks.
These locks are not very old though. They date from 1920. On 28 april 1944 they were disabled by a few resistance men and two paratroopers, with the use of a pair of scissors. To prevent the Germans from using it.
At the other side of the water is new island between the old and new arm of the Leie with recreation purposes.
The city museum ‘t Schippershof, is a 17th century inn and was originally located at the old Leiebridge. It was the entrance of the harbour. Today the river is a bit further from the citycentre.
Because Menen is located at the crossroad of the river Leie and the road Brugge- Lille (France), it became an important trade centre.
The inn was strategicly located, along the river and near the border. A canonball is stuck in the wall from a siege, the wall also has some shooting holes.
Because of this historic importance the city restored the building and made it the citymuseum.
The touristinfo is also in the building.
This is the main church of Menen. In 1087 they already mentioned a church on this site. The present church has a foundation of the tower that dates back to 1454. The church itself was built in 1821. Inside you can find some interesting paintings, amongst others St Vedastus with a bear by Adriaan Wulffaert (1827).
Also worth seeing is the sculpted prayingbench from 1881, depicting the last supper.
The cityhall dates from 1782.
The belfry was built between 1574 and 1610. It is 33 m high and has 49 bells.
In 1574 the building of the belfry began according to the plan of Bartholomeus Dhaese from Ghent. Because of religious wars the building stopped in 1576. Only two square stories were finished by then. It took untill 1610 before the building restarted. Jan Persyn from Kortrijk was in charge of the altered plan.Two brick square stories were added and then an octagonal part was added. A wooden top made it complete. A big fire in 1694, demolished the cityhall but the belfry was spared. In 1706 the top was shot off during a siege. The tower was restored in 1711 with another octagonal part. The next sieges the belfry was spared, but in 1794 the french republican troops shot the top off again. In 1828 It got another octagonal piece added on top.
Together with 23 flemish belfries and 6 from Walonie it was placed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO on 4 december 1999 .