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Ypres

We really enjoyed staying in Ypres on our recent holiday. We were based at the Novotel hotel which is located close to the main square and The Menin Gate. Lots of great restaurants and shops around the square.

Posted by
2298 posts

We also loved Ypres-much better than Brussel and an easy drive from Brussels.

Posted by
293 posts

do the British still say "Wipers"? most Americans used to say "eepers" , and the French said "eep-ch* ", that was a few decades ago.

Posted by
8293 posts

The French said "eep-ch" ? First time I have heard that. "Wipers" is how the British soldiers in the first world war pronounced Ypres, maybe ironically. Whether or not it spread to the general population I don't know, but doubt it somehow.

Posted by
8889 posts

The actual name is Ieper (that's a capital i at the front, not a small 'L'). Pronounced "eeper". It is in Flemish-speaking Belgium, and that is the Flemish spelling which you will see on signs if you go there.
"Ypres" is the French spelling, pronounced (approximately) "eeps" with a very soft 's'.
French spellings were often used in the past in English, hence the common use of "Ypres" in English, Same as many guide books still use "Bruges" (French spelling) instead of "Brugge" (Flemish spelling).
"Wipers" was a nickname used in the First World War, as that was allegedly how many British soldiers tried to pronounce "Ypres" when they saw it written.

Since these days people increasingly use the local names, it is easier to use Ieper, Brugge etc.

Posted by
23259 posts

I have never heard Wipers used except in documentaries.

Posted by
1106 posts

What's this now -- spelling proper names not simple and straightforward? How could that be?

Charlemagne - what could be plainer?
Nuremberg - easy as pie.

/s

I'm just echoing the comments on the thread about how simple it is to have the names match on various documents.

Also just recalled that I have a Britannica Atlas from late in the Cold War gathering dust on my shelf that uses official Soviet names for the geographic features in the various 'stans...

Posted by
397 posts

Hmmmm...... this thread has taken an interesting turn.

We loved Ypres. If you are interested in WW 1 history, particularly the British, Canadian or Australian participation, Ypres is a good base. Every night at 8 pm the Last Post is played at Menin Gate in honour of the missing from Ypres Salient battles. Every night the ceremony is a bit different as the participants vary. Some times there is a choir, sometimes a band, sometimes a simple playing of the Last Post and laying of wreaths. It's a very moving experience. Hundreds of people line the ceremony area by 8 pm, so it's wise to show up around 7 or 7:15. The In Flanders Field Museum is also a very interesting and moving museum. It's located in the Cloth Hall, a magnificent building in the center square.

Posted by
293 posts

While stationed at NATO for 4 years in the early 90s, yes, we did hear many iterations of this name. As a linguist, these things interest me, and the amateur anthropologist in me also wonders. Belgium is a nation of three; Walloons who speak French, the Flemish who speak Dutch, I think, and Germans close to Luxembourg.

Posted by
12084 posts

Since we are listing the various ways Ypres was pronounced in WW1, in German it is called Ypern. Those horrific offensives ( and losses) ordered by Falkenhayn against the British that started the first battles around that place in Oct/Nov of 1914 are referred as "Das Kindermord von Ypern."

The two German speaking areas Belgium are Eupen and Malmedy which Belgium got in 1919.