Showing posts with label Belgium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Belgium. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Lion’s Mound of Battlefield of Waterloo

The Lion’s Mound is a big conical and artificial hill located in Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium, with a lion statue at the peak that memorializes the location on the battlefield of Waterloo where a musket ball struck William II of the Netherlands (the Prince of Orange) in the shoulder. Jean-Fran├žois Van Geel (1756–1830) sculpted the model lion, which narrowly resembles the 16th-century Medici lions. It is also a memorial of the Battle of Quatre Bras, which had been fought two days earlier, on 16 June 1815. The mount is 141 feet in height and has a circumference of 1706 feet. Its volume is greater than 514,000 yd3, which far exceeds the frequent claim of 300,000 m3. These days, the surrounding area is used to cultivate beets. The hill giving a vista of the battlefield, and is the anchor point of the associated museums and taverns in the surrounding Lion’s Hamlet. Visitors who pay a fee may climb up the Mound’s 226 steps, which lead to the statue and its surrounding overlook where there are maps documenting the battle, along with observation telescopes.

The statue lion standing upon a stone-block pedestal surmounts the hill. The lion is the heraldic beast on the personal coat of arms of the monarch of The Netherlands, and symbolizes courage. At the behest of William I, the Royal Architect Charles Vander Straeten designed the monument. The engineer Jean-Baptiste Vifquain considered of it as a symbol of the Allied victory, rather than as venerating any sole individual.

The Mound's shape is that of a tumulus of the Belgae, whom Julius Caesar called the bravest of the Gallic tribes. The conic hill and its lion have become an icon of Waterloo, and these days they appear on the municipality's coat of arms. Moreover, earth from various parts of the battlefield, including the fields between “La Haye Sainte” farm and the Duke of Wellington's sunken lane, is in the huge man-made hill. Ictor Hugo, in his novel “Les Miserables”, wrote that the Duke of Wellington visited the site two years after the Mound's completion and said, they’ve altered my field of battle! The alleged remark by Wellington as described by Hugo was never documented, however. There is a legend that the foundry melted down brass from cannons that the French had left on the battlefield, in order to cast the metal lion. In fact, the foundry made nine separate partial casts in iron, and amassed those components into one statue at the monument site.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Traffic Jam Stuck in Belgium Forest For 70 Years

Chatillion is a small village in Belgium, actually to be home of vintage abandoned and beautiful rusty cars graveyard. This “Car Graveyard” has since been cleaned up, but photographer Theo van Vliet had the chance to explore the forest and photograph the cars beforehand.

These frightening apocalyptic photos are not a view of “Walking Dead”, they were actually taken at one of the biggest car cemeteries in the world the Chatillion Car Graveyard, Belgium. According to an urban legend these cars were left behind by US soldiers after World War II, who could not ship them back to the United States due to the high cost of having all those cars shipped was way too expensive, so they decided to hide them in a forest until they could come back and save them.

Finally the ranking officers decided to leave all the cars in Belgium and these cars were driven up a hill, one by one, nicely parked and somehow hidden from the outside world. Once back home in the US, the soldiers who wanted to retrieve their car had to take personal responsibility for all costs of the shipping but unfortunately not a single car was retrieved.

But on the other side, the local inhabitants totally deny the facts and say it is simply an old car dump of vehicles made after the WWII. At one point there were four car graveyards in Chatillion with as many as 500 retro vehicles. Unluckily, most of the cars were stolen by car collectors or removed by the locals and due to environmental issues the whole graveyards was cleared in 2010.

Source: Charismatic Planet 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Mystical Blue Forest of Beligum

 The Hallerbos is a public forest in Belgium, mainly situated in the municipality of Halle, in Flemish Brabant. It is situated about 15 kilometers south of Brussels. You’d never imagine how the forest beautiful is? The forest is a lovely place for a stroll at any time of the year, but for limited weeks in spring, it is something really special. Hallerbos, also famous as The Blue Forest, is carpeted with a sea of blue flowers. The Common Bluebell is a spring-flowering bulbous perpetual plant with flowers shaped like tiny bells. They thrive under the beech trees of the Hallerbos in late April. If you’re a photographer then it is a perfect place for amazing photography. But photographing the Hallerbos can be challenging. First, you must get your timing right, and visit too early in the season, the bluebells will be sparse. If you get late, the flowers will be spent and the forest returned to typical woodland. As the season changes every year, depending on the weather, it can take several visits to the Hallerbos before you see the blue carpet it all its glory. 

The other challenge is the genuine fact that everyone wants to visit the Hallerbos at this time of year. Having tourists and other photographers in your photo can detract from the scene. The forest has other riches. In spring season it is full of birds blackcap warblers, wrens and nuthatches are the loudest. There’re red squirrels amongst the pines, buzzards in the clearings and tadpoles in the ponds. Halle's Wood was once part of the Sonian Forest, Europe's largest beech forest, stretching over the southern part of Brussels. In the First World War, the original Hallerbos was destroyed by the occupying forces, though some ancient oak and beech trees lasted the devastation and can still be seen these days. After the world war, in somewhere between the 1930s and 1950s, key replanting efforts took place reintroducing the native beech and oak trees. 

The wild bluebell hyacinths, though, are all natural and have been for centuries. Aside from bluebells, one can spot tiny wood sorrel, with its cup-shaped flowers and clover-like leaves, and the star-shaped white flowers of ramsons or wild garlic, which can be smelled before they can be seen. Therefore; the Hallerbos is a busy park at the best of times. There’re trails not only for walkers, but also for cycling and horseback riding as well. As with all outdoor camerawork, the best light occurs in Hallerbos early and late. With great patience you can accomplish lovely lighting filtering through the leaves of the trees. If you’re searching for macro images of the bluebells, you can take advantage of the fact that Belgium is often overcast for a nice even light. Whether you visit the Hallerbos with your camera or just you’re walking shoes, it is well worth a visit in the springtime to see this magical occasion.

Bluebell Forest - Hallerbos Belgium from Boris Godfroid on Vimeo.