AT THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO, NAPOLEON WAS FINALLY DEFEATED IN 1815:
For anyone with a passion for history, a trip out to the Waterloo Battlefield is an opportunity to learn more about this famous battle almost 200 years ago. The Battle of Waterloo was fought at a site about 13 kms south of Brussels. It was at the Battle of Waterloo that Napoleon Bonaparte was finally defeated in 1815. The defeat ended his ambition to make France a European empire and it also put an end to his brilliant military career.
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was the culmination of 23 years of battles, beginning with the French Revolution and followed by the the Napoleonic Wars. On arrival at the site, we were shown two films of about 20 minutes each. The film sessions took place in separate auditoriums. The first auditorium was not too comfy – we sat on cement steps with no back support. Considering the conditions that the soldiers had to endure during battle, we shouldn’t complain really.
At the Panorama, where a huge 360 degree mural depicts a key moment in the raging battle you could immerse yourself in the war action. If you’ve forgotten your Napoleonic War history, these films are a quick reminder of the power of the French armies under Napoleon and how much of Europe he managed to conquer before it all unravelled.
Considering that Napoleon was defeated and the hero at the Battle of Waterloo was the Duke of Wellington, some British visitors may be disappointed that there was more mention of Napoleon than the Duke of Wellington.
In the countryside there are numerous monuments dedicated to those who died or were wounded in battle and the most famous of the monuments is the Lion Mound. The Lion Mound is an artificial hillock which was constructed by King William I of The Netherlands to commemorate the location where his son (the Prince of Orange) was knocked off his horse by a musket ball during battle. Yes, a lion monument tops this mound and from a distance it is eye-catching. After the films we took the challenge and climbed the 226 steps to the top of the Lion Mound for panoramic views over the battlefield and countryside.
2015 marks the 200th anniversary of this great battle and a lot of work is being carried out to improve the site. If like me you’re not up to reading volumes and volumes of battle history, the film and Panorama was a good medium to quickly re-acquaint and remind us of this historic battle.
At the Battlefield bookshop there is a wide range of books, DVDs, games, toys and figurines to remember your visit to this historic battlefield. There’s even a Waterloo beer.
How to Get to Waterloo
Catch a train from anyone of Belgium’s Central, Midi or North stations to Waterloo. On arrival at Waterloo station, wait for the ‘W’ bus, which will take you to town or to the battlefield.