The history of the city of Ypres - derived from the Ypreslee River - goes back to the eleventh century. After Ghent and Bruges, it was for a long time the third city of the county of Flanders. In the year 2020 this medieval history is perhaps more topical than ever with the Yper Museum as the main witness. On the basis of numerous archaeological finds, insignia, original maps, lace and handicrafts, you dive back in time a thousand years. Thanks to a giant model of the city, it is even quite literal.
Among other things, you will find out why Ypres is probably the only place in the world where you get a cat's leg instead of a rabbit's leg as a lucky charm. Take advantage of it and then stroll along the beautiful and clearly laid out 'open-air museum' with its impressive attractions such as the Cloth Hall, the Belfry, the Grote Markt with its typical stepped gable houses, the Nieuwerck, the St Martin's Church, the Belle Godshuis, the Kasselrij, the Merghelynck Museum and the (Vauban-)Fortresses - the best preserved in Belgium.
Inseparable history of war
Our war history is also inextricably linked to the City of Peace or Cat City. Ypres was particularly hard hit during the First World War. The occupiers left almost no stone unturned in the city centre. To such an extent that it was even suggested from England that from now on the centre should be completely destroyed as an eternal reminder of what was never allowed to happen again. Nie wieder ... Nobel of course, but fortunately the Ypres did not let themselves be persuaded. The historically inspired reconstruction of the city centre testifies to a seldom seen ferry and West-Flemish willpower.
Although the Great War is of course never far away with the daily Last Post under the Menin Gate, the impressive In Flanders Fields Museum and the countless military cemeteries in and around Ypres that are certainly worth a visit. Nowhere else do you immerse yourself in the horrific reality of an unprecedented world fire in such a short space of time. Numerous cultural (inter)national high-flyers have preceded you. From Victor Hugo and Cyriel Buysse over Rudyard Kipling and Herman de Coninck to Tom Lanoye and Hugo Claus. They were all bluntly enchanted by the relatively easily accessible magic of the city of Ypres.
Later I heard the Last Post under the Menin Gate:
Three bugles that you can see until eighty years ago
Through what is left of marrow and leg hears go.
(Excerpt from the poem 'Last Post' written by Herman de Coninck)
Ultimate base of operations
But enough about what has been, the steven ahead. Nowadays Ypres is mainly regarded as a vibrant city with plenty of possibilities for eating, shopping and walking. Both on foot - let yourself be inspired by the many, whether or not accompanied by a city guide, mapped out walking routes and searches for the whole family - as well as by bicycle - blissfully recreational as well as firmly sporty with, if desired, an experienced pedal-assistant who will charm you as a tireless leader through the vast Westhoek.
By the way, your own pedelecs can easily be recharged in the fully shielded and therefore safe parking area of DONCKS. But mountain bikers and cycling tourists can also do more than just enjoy themselves here. In short, something for everyone: off-road, billiard or hilly. By the way, Ypres is increasingly profiling itself as a cycling and racing city (starting point Ghent-Wevelgem).
Nearby / events
Those who prefer to stick to a dash of art and/or culture will not be left out in the cold in Ypres either. On the contrary. The triennial fairytale Cats' Cavalcade (good for more than 50.000 spectators) leaves no one unmoved. Just like The Winged City of Ypres/City of Wings Ypres, a multi-day promotion festival for (inter)national street theatre, the Ghent Festivities in miniature, so to speak. Add to this the extensive local theatre and music on offer, including the cultural centre Het Perron and the beautiful Stadsschouwburg. But also music festivals (free or not) such as Frietrock, Highlight Festival, Ypres Hardcore Fest and so on. "Never a dull moment" in English or "Oltied é dul moment" in the Ypres dialect where dul stands for fierce. It's just how you look at it.
Finally, by car from the centre of Ypres you are only a quarter to half an hour away from other touristic top locations such as the pret/aqua park Bellewaerde, nature reserve De Palingbeek, the Heuvelland, French Flanders, the Belgian coast and the far north of France. Ideal for an unforgettable day trip that promptly immerses you in a completely different world. You will see: just as far away has never been so close. Welcome to inner Ypres, welcome to the warm opulence of DONCKS…