Who are these VIFFs?
The Friends of the In Flanders Fields Museum count almost 600 members, of whom a considerable number from abroad.
Among them are poets, singers, musicians, painters and sculptors, but above all also ordinary people who, in a poem, a song or a sculpture, have been moved by what the generations before them have experienced.
Often it started with something small: a shell picked up during a walk in the Westhoek, a letter or a photo among yellowed family papers, a story told at the funeral of an uncle or aunt, a rather coincidental presence at a concert, a visit to a cemetery …
Viffs have been touched at some point by the unimaginability of the Great War and this has not let them go.
Viffs are gripped by the war as it is shown in the museum. That image of the war makes them think about the hundred years to come.
The dream of No More War remained a pious wish worldwide, but the Viff's, together with Ypres City of Peace, do not want to give up that dream.
Some Viffs have a past as diggers. They ploughed in the mud and pumped out dugouts in search of the Great War.
Others are book people, always on the lookout for the latest article or book on the war. Sometimes they too put on their boots to descend into a distant trench on a trip of friends.
For some, it began at school, with a teacher who doted on the war poets, or during a history lesson on the front movement. For others, it began later, during a visit to Ireland or a chance stop at Verdun.
Viffs appreciate historical accuracy, but never without attention and interest in the people who lived through the war, civilians and soldiers on all sides.