Some miles from the Lion Mount,on the main street of Waterloo, a museum awaits tourists and visitors. But this museum is not any museum for the place, a former Mail and Inn building was used by Arthur Wellesley,Duke of Wellington, to establish his headquarters prior to the battle of Waterloo.
True to say that the battle itself took place on the grounds of Braine-L’-Alleud but, winner’s privilege, the name that would be given to posterity is the one of Waterloo for it’s from his room that the Duke of Iron wrote to England to tell about the defeat and fate of the french emperor. Also true to mention that Waterloo is much more easier to spell for foreigners than Braine-L’-Alleud. Really worth a visit if you want to plunge yourself into the feelings that must have been the ones of the Iron Duke before and after the battle!
You are invited to visit the rooms of the house as well as an recently renovated small house in the yard. With an audioguide in hand, optional but handy,you’ll be led through the building, learning on the context and the facts of that important day. The bed of the Duke where Gordon,of the 3d Foot Guards and one of Wellington’s friends and aide de Camp died is still there along with an articulated wooden leg and informations on the medical side of the story.
Different pieces of weapons, bullets,muskets, knives and plates are on display as well as copies of historical letters. Those written witnesses of history are surely my favorite pieces of the museum,along with the impressive paintings. On another part of the museum, you can admire the beautiful pictures taken during the different reenactment that takes place often with the help of a lot of dedicated people. You can also learn about the cities all around the world that where named Waterloo in memory of the battle. One of my favorite part was also learning of how the Mount was projected and built. Don’t assume that the lion on top is only a statue as it’s in fact the top of a column, facing France (and warning to never come back😉 )
A temporary exhibition « Napoleon-Wellington : Shared destinies » shed the light on the common points and differences of the two men both in their military careers as well as private lives. Chronologically following the leaders
This exhibition will only last until the 31st July so be sure to plan a visit before then and bear in mind that with the commemorations coming, it will be very crowded.
(c) Musée Wellington
The Wellington museum is definitively worth a visit if you’re interested by this crucial period for european history! It’s perhaps less impressive than the brand new memorial, but a visit to both sites is very possible and encouraged with the 1815 Pass ticket which allow you to combine a visit to the battlefield (memorial+panorama+mount) and the trip to the museum. You can then do both sites and benefit from those two great places to learn about the hours leading to the battle, the position of troops and the very important consequences of the battle for Europe.
Chaussée de Bruxelles 147
Téléphone :+32(0)2 357 28 60
The museum is open daily with the exception of 1st January and 25th December.
The museum is closed until 13:30 on 24/12 and 31/1. From 1 October to 31 March 10.00hr to 17.00hr. From April 1 to September 30 of 9.30hr to 18.00hr.