a poetic museum name

The museum is named after the poem In Flanders Fields by the Canadian doctor John McCrae. A graphic installation gives a modern interpretation to the rows of flowering poppies that made the text world-famous.

A short video explains where and when the poem originated, and is followed by the film recording of the very first performance of Pax pro Patria (2015). In this suite of songs, the Ypres composer Maarten De Splenter included a wonderful version of the poem as a middle piece.

the poem and the poet

Fine War Arts

The historical and thematic storylines are coloured throughout the exhibition by the extraordinary war testimony of artists.

The oil studies by the Belgian painter Alfred Bastien show the flooded landscape of the Yser near Nieuwpoort, and the fire of the Ypres Cloth Hall on 22 November 1914. At the end of the exhibition, Bastien returns with a watercolour of the reconstruction of the Belfry. Between those two iconic moments, countless other scenes and aspects of the war are illustrated by Alfred Ost, Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Frank Brangwyn, Henri de Groux, Karel Lauwers, Eugeen Van Mieghem, Wyndham Robinson, René De Pauw, Paul Jouve, Armand Jamar and Modest Huys.

reflection & contemporary art

At the turning point, where the historical section switches to post war commemoration, the permanent exhibition leaves open a space to be filled with artistic reflection. Every year, this part of the museum is occupied by an artist who uses the legacy of the Great War for contemporary interpretation and creation.