From 18 to 20 June 2015, Waterloo, just 20km from Europe’s capital, will offer a spectacular reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo, which was fought 200 years ago. Both now and then, Brussels was a strategic stopping point. For this reason the Brussels-Capital Region is proposing a welcome and special events for visitors to complement the events being held in Waterloo to reconstruct the battle that marked European history.
All those who fought in the battle would have set foot in the European capital: from the Duke of Wellington to soldiers and wounded from both sides. In their wake were the first battlefield tourists, writers, journalists and political dissidents who also stopped there.
To mark the occasion, Brussels will be going back to the time of the battle, with themed hotels, exhibitions, conferences and guided visits that will further enrich their stay, along with the re-enactments.
Brussels – Waterloo: an undeniable link
Brussels bore witness to an animated social scene during the French occupation and at the time of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (before and after 1815). The area round Brussels Park and the Royal Palace was already very popular. It was also the backdrop for various events that marked the beginning of the 19th century. An interactive map made for the occasion, indicates the different places that important and well-known figures before, during and after the Battle of Waterloo visited and stayed in.
Napoleon’s four visits to Brussels
The history of Napoleon in Belgium is not just limited to Waterloo. Brussels appeared four times on his itinerary. His first visit in 1798 was due to his growing interest in Brussels as a tourist destination. He would come back three times in order to take part in social events, visit the city and introduce the country to his new wife Marie Louise of Austria, 25 days after they were married.
So here are few scenes from the re-enactment of that epic battle-
Hotels and transport in Brussels
With 5,000 participants, 300 horses and 100 pieces of artillery, the reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo will reach a degree of realism never before seen in Europe. And with the 200 000 visitors expected, Brussels is an ideal pied-à-terre, just a stone’s throw from Waterloo.
Also, on 18, 19 and 20, June the SNCB will launch a special service to Braine-l’Alleud departing from stations in Brussels, including additional trains for those returning from the events and economy class returns at half the normal price. From Braine-L’Alleud station, TEC buses will run a free service to the site of the event, 3 km away.
Events in Brussels
For the occasion of the commemorations Brussels is organising exhibitions, plays, conferences and guided visits based on the theme of the Battle of Waterloo.
- “Waterloo 1815 – 2015: The challenge to Europe“
(10/06/2015 – 31/10/2015, Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History)
- “The beauty of war, Waterloo 1815 – 2015“
(17/06/2015 – 15/09/201, Royal Library of Belgium)
- “Napoléon & Waterloo“
(04/06/2015 – 27/06/2015, Théâtre Royal de Toone)
- “The Biography: William II” Jeroen van Zanten on “the hero of Waterloo”
(16/06/2015, Vlaams-Nederlands Huis DeBuren)
- Guided visits:
- Itineraries: “From Brussels to Waterloo: bicentennial of a great battle“
- Brukstelbinnenstebuiten: “Was William popular after Waterloo?“
- Le Bus Bavard : “Napoleon: the legacy of a defeated ogre“
- Arkadia: “Napoleon, from the conquest of France to the pinnacle of the Empire“