The Battle of Passchendaele was initiated by British troops on 31 July 1917. During the preparatory artillery phase of two weeks, no fewer than 4.2 million projectiles were fired. The battlefield was thus transformed into a quagmire. The Battle of Passchendaele was a true bloodshed estimated to have cost more than 450,000 casualties for a movement of the frontline of only eight kilometres. The battle soon took on mythical proportions and still has a significant symbolic value today.
Every year, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 organises a museum weekend with WWI Living History. Because of the UK remembrance ceremony on 31 July, in 2017 the museum weekend exceptionally takes place in July. The focus lies on Living History which gives the visitors a sense of stepping back in time.
About 300 historical figurants from both home and abroad (12 nationalities) spend the weekend at the Zonnebeke chateau grounds. Next to encampments, weapons and historic objects, you will also see demonstrations. Amongst other things the War Heritage (previously the Royal War Museum) will exhibit a lot of tanks, canons and collection pieces.
Eye-catcher of the weekend is the ‘Passchendaele Battlefield Experience’, a reconstruction of the Battlefield of 100 years ago. Therefore, the MMP1917 cultivated a piece of ground with a surface of 500m2 to a terrain full of craters, bunkers, mud, gangway and tree stumps. The framework with a historical landscape photo and the presence of reenactors will give the visitor the feeling that they have returned 100 years back in time.
The chateau grounds are accessible between 10.00 and 18.00 and the entrance is free.
Chateau grounds Zonnebeke