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Flanders, WWI sites in January

is it worthwhile to visit the Flanders Fields, WWI sites in January? the museum is closed and it looks like tour companies don't have scheduled trips. We (18 year old daughter) and I will be traveling to Bruges down from Amsterdam and I was thinking that a visit to these sites would be interesting. Also wouldn't mind seeing some countryside after five days in Amsterdam/Bruges. Would appreciate any comments of suggestions. Many thanks, Karen

Posted by
23412 posts

My guess is that the weather is the principle factor. Cold and snowy and not many tourist want to stomp around in the snow and cold. The museum helps to give a lot of perspective to the area.

Posted by
135 posts

Hello

From their website, it looks like In Flanders Fields museum is closed on 1 Jan, then 5 to 19 Jan - not all month. See Museum Opening Hours. You may also find that some of the other museums are open sporadically too. In any case, it depends what your prime desire is - if it is to look at the museums, then January is probably not the best month to go. However if you want to experience what the soldiers had to put up with, and are prepared to do a far more 'get out of your car and walk' type tour (with one of the many good battlefield guidebooks available), then January would be excellent - likely cold, wet weather (if not even snowy); mud, and bare fields (no crops or flowers) so you can see the grim battlefields, war graves and many outdoors monuments.

Posted by
7562 posts

It's a shame if the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ieper (Ypres) is scheduled to be closed when you'd be in the area, if that's January 5-19, 2015.

We were there in June, so I can't give a direct recommendation, but as Frank suggests January might be chilly and/or wet and snowy. The sites were evocative and interesting to visit for us, and no matter how foul the weather when you go, it certainly won't be as bad as it was for the armies in January during the war. I wonder if there are any Tour companies you haven't discovered that will still be operating during January, or if you contacted the others now, would one do a custom tour for you in January? Would the museum have any recommendations?

Posted by
2004 posts

Weather is really hard to predict. The weather today is here some 90km from Ypres quiet pleasant for the time of the year, lots of sunshine, few clouds, no wind and 8 °C, but a few days ago it was totally the opposite, windy, no sunshine and almost freezing. In January it´s usually colder, but with a bit of luck you can have the same pleasant weather as today.

The museums really add to the Flanders Fields visit, unluckely most have a closing periode in January. Like: Talbot House Poperinge closed 12/14 Dec. – 5/1 / Hooge Crater Museum closed 12/22 – 1/26 / Tyne Cot Cemetery Visitor Centre closed 12/1 – l/31 / Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 closed 12/16 – 2/1 . Museum Hill 62 can´t find info about a closing period. It remains always possible to visit the cemeteries and memorials.

As said before the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres has a closing period, but the Tourist Information in the same building will be open. It has a little shop where you can buy all kinds of books, brochures and maps for also car routes, check out website: www.tourismeieper.be/en

If you can´t find a guided tour then it will be a more DIY affaire. Think about renting a car as public transport will be too much time consuming and some places too remote.

Every evening at 8:00 pm you can attent the Last Post Ceremony at the Mening Gate.

The country-side around the canal to Damme/Oostkerke north-east of Bruges is nice to visit.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you for your comments. It looks like all the major museums are closed. I've contacted two different tour guides and they close down in January. Probably best to visit another time.