Champ de Bataille de Waterloo, Brussels
The battle of Waterloo put an end to Napoleon's dreams of conquering Europe (but he kept coming back, didn't he?). The battlefield is south of Brussels, and was reached in 1972 by bus (probably still is).
In 1972, the battlefield was fields out in the country, with the occasional fence or road. In the center of the battlefield was an artificial hill - 50-60 feet tall? - that looked like a giant ant mound. It was built so that you could have a panoramic view of the battle site. On top, there was a walkway and a display done in metal (shown here) that showed you the positions of the troops.
On nice thing...unlike modern Europe overrun with tourists, on the morning I was there, I was nearly alone...
The Wellington Museum's a few miles from the Waterloo Battlefield Visitors Centre. It's also better.
It's the house - or possibly it was an inn - where Wellington had his headquarters. There are maybe ten or so rooms on two floors (not many stairs, though, and there are several places where you can sit down), with masses of original material connected with the battle - posters, maps, guns, artificial limbs and so on, and even the desk, chair and bed actually used by the Duke, arranged in the room as they were at the time.
The museum is bang in the middle of the village, about 300 yards from the station.
It may be different when that tractor-trains running, but from what I saw the Waterloo Battlefield Visitors Centre seemed more about money than history.
As it was, I went there in January, it was snowing, the tractor-train thing was parked, and it wasn't possible to do a tour of the battlefield itself.
Without that, you go into a hall, buy a ticket and go through the barrier. You then wait for a bit in a waiting area outside an auditorium-projection room until the next showing of a film explaining the story behind the battle, how it evolved, the strategy, the tactics, etc. (I thought this was the best part.) You then go across to another building where you can see relics of the battle, guns, uniforms, tableaux vivants, etc, and you can go and stand in the middle of a sort of 360 degree panoramic model of the battlefield listening to shouts, firing, drumbeats, cannon fire, frenzied whinnying, etc, and look around and notice La Haye Sainte over there, or Blucher at last coming into sight over there. (I hadn't realised how good a general he was, by the way) I thought this part was a bit tacky. Then you go out and look at the Lion Mound, which you can climb if you want, then you leave, via a large hall where you can buy all sorts of souvenirs.
(Not all sorts, actually. There's a picture of Napoleon (or Josephine) on practically everything you see in that shop, I could find nothing, repeat NOTHING, with a portrait of Wellington. Not even a postcard. Why not ?)
It was 18 June 1815, when Wellington faced Napoleon for the last battle. Well-known, that Duke of Wellington reached a big victory against Napoleon.
The defeat was the end of Napoleon's Hundred Days of return from the island of Elba's exile.
Napoleon really did not want war. He was old and fat and would have been satisfied, to rule France (okay, and maybe Belgium), bringing reforms and enjoying life with his young wife. The death is trifle, he wrote in one of his letters, but to live defeating is so much, than to die every day.
The lion hill is a large conical artificial hill raised on the site, where the anglophile, charming prince William of Orange, son of the Dutch King was injured, to the memory of the great victory of the Allied army under Wellington and von Blücher. The hill is 43 m high, 226 stairs lead to the top. The Lion has a weight of 28 tons, it is 4,45 m high and 4,50 m long.
According to a legend the statue was cast from the bronze of the guns the French left behind on the battlefield. It is only a legend !
On 18 June each year, interesting historical demonstrations can be seen. In every summer-weekend , military shows with cavalry, cannon fire and infantry are held in original costumes.
In the Visitors’ Centre the painting of the battle, in circular form, is 110 meters long and 12 meters high.
You can find also restaurants and souvenier shops here. The Visitors’ Centre is open all year round.
Entrance fee: 12,- € all incl.
About 20km south of Brussels - near the city of Waterloo one of the most important battles of the 19th century took place in 1815 when Napoleon was defeated by Anglo-Dutch and German troops.
There is a visitor center and a shop where you can buy tickets for the three different attractions.
For 1 Euro you can walk up the "lion hill" from where you have fantastic overview over the battlefield. There is also a map with the troops locations as can be seen in the picture.
There is also a film show in a round shaped building but I cannot comment on this.
And there is a third attraction that can be seen.
They offer also guided walks across the battlefields on weekends (for groups)