Expo Waterloo 1815-2015 Europe Challenged
June 1815: a mighty coalition of old and new enemies gathered in the Waterloo area once and for all eliminates the French emperor Napoleon. June 2015: two hundred years later Europe reflects on the end of an era.
The Royal Military Museum of course participates in this reflection. The Brussels institution lends out numerous prestigious pieces to museums in Waterloo or its surroundings and organizes a unique exhibition in the capital. Three stirring aspects of the Battle of Waterloo are highlighted in the Arcades, the exhibition gallery on top of the arc of triumph in the Jubilee Park.
In 1810-1815 Europe is profoundly divided. The exhibition situates this state of affairs in an international context. Ten mannequins dressed in authentic uniforms represent ten nations and illustrate the armies opposing one another on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo. Military victories and diplomatic treaties create new states or, on the contrary, make borders disappear. Napoleon places his brothers on several European thrones and in that way fans nationalist resistance. An international alliance against the French emperor slowly takes shape and leads to French military defeats in both Spain and Russia. In 1814-1815 the Vienna Congress redefines the maps of Europe, but in Waterloo Napoleon sets a last challenge.
Since June 1815 the Waterloo battlefield has drawn countless artists. For two hundred years farms, roads and hamlets, often telling a bloody story, have been sketched and painted many times over. The Royal Military Museum focuses on the artist Jacques Madyol (1871-1950), and puts ten of his works dating from the beginning of the 20th century alongside old images and present-day photos of identical sites. Artists and photographers in that way trace a two-hundred year evolution and show that time never stops, not even in Waterloo!
One of the most important realizations of the Vienna Congress is the creation of a buffer state along the northern border of France. In 1814 present-day Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg are united under the Orange crown. On June 18, 1815 the young Belgian-Dutch army participates in the decisive battle of Waterloo, but has to face fellow countrymen in French uniform. Ten witnesses symbolize this complex and thrilling story. In Waterloo five of them fight alongside Napoleon, whereas the other five serve with the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Through personal objects, portraits and testimonials, we tell their story at Waterloo, only to follow up on them during their careers in the Netherlands and/or in Belgium.
Tuesday to Sunday
from 9am until noon and from 1pm until 5pm
Weekend, school holidays, public holidays
from 10am until noon and from 1pm until 6pm
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces
and of Military History
Parc du Cinquantenaire 3