5. Yes, no less than 5 museums just opened their doors in Mons thanks to the city being one of cultural capitals of 2015! Those openings have been merged with Mons2015, European Capital of Culture. In a region where unemployment and social problems were more common news than museums opening, this is a very good news for the former fortified city of the County of Hainault.
The museums will be opened in the context of Mons 2015 and the least we could say is that Mons 2015 already has its positive effects on the city for visitors for both belgian and foreigners tourists are gathering to the « City of the Doudou »* to explore and discover.My favorite of all 5 has to be the Mons Memorial Museum focused on History and life of the city and his citizens throughout centuries and especially during both world wars.
From this week end, you’ll be able to discover the many exhibitions, temporary or permanents in the different museums but also discover the various art installations that are to see all over town.* Talking of the « Doudou » , one of the big novelty of this multi-opening is the « Museum of the Doudou » where you’ll learn all about the legend, customs and events around the most famous dragon of Belgium! The « Artothèque », the Minieres of Spienne that will gives you an insight of what it was like to work in a coalmine while Sile’x will teach you all about prehistoric life in the region. Dragons, Prehistoric life….and Angels! For most of the British, Mons will ring a bell as being the city where angels appeared during the hard days of the battle of Mons in August 14! fiction based on a novel of Arthur Machen or real fact, a visit to the city can help you think about it 😉
If you like panoramas, you’ll also be able to visit the Belfroy and benefit from a great view on the town. All of the museums are now opened from this Easter week end and there will be special events all over town so do not hesitate to treat yourself to a last minute city trip. Of course, if you wish to have a guided tour of the city, an insight into its history and a link to your ancestors, this is also very possible and you can contact me to proceed (It’s also possible to link it with a visit around Waterloo Battle) . I’m of course more than willing to help you with your Hainault family history and research trips including visits to the State Archives in Mons can be organised!
The pick up of Mons as one of the European capitals of Culture of this year didn’t come easy and was much discussed about in the medias an political circles but the city proved the critics wrong and it turned out to be one the best ideas of last decade for the development of the region. More, it gives people inspiration and will to do more and have projects done! The city was already known to host the Saint Symphorien cemetery, final rest place for british and german soldiers of WWI. Last August, as the world remembered, HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with HRH Prince Harry paid tribute to the fallen ones in that very same cemetery whose visit is always moving and sad.
Those museums, and the city, are definitively worth a visit if you have ancestors coming from Mons and/or if you have ancestors who have been fighting in the battle of Mons in August 1914 you’ll find the Mons Memorial Museum a must. If you have little ones, you can also fit in a visit to Pairi Daiza, the best animal park of Wallonia where you’ll have the opportunity to meet Hao Hao and Xing Hui, the much-loved pandas from China amongst a vast collection of animals in the beautiful surroundings of the Cambron Abbey! The tower dates from 1774 and the monumental staircase (see below) from 1776. And if you wonder what it has to do with family history, this is the right time to reveal that one of my man’s ancestors was a gardener for the cysterian monks at the Abbey and I guess he must be very proud of what the park is now !
More informations :
* A map is downloadable on