Waterloo Belgium

Waterloo Belgium is a small city in the province of Walloon-Brabant (Brabant-Wallon). It can easily be visited on a day trip.

Waterloo Belgium Facts:

Population: 29.000
Distance: 18 km/11 miles south of Brussels
Claim to fame: Site of the historic battle of Waterloo that changed the course of European history.
Best for: War history enthusiasts

Waterloo has become one of the world's most famous battlefield after Napoleon was defeated here on 18 June 1815, by the combined Anglo-Dutch troops under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and the Prussian army under Marshal Blücher. It's one of Belgium's main tourist attractions, with hundreds of thousands visitors coming each year to look over the plains from the Lion of Waterloo.

History buffs are delighted by the numerous museums retracing the events of the celebrated battle, but for others there is no so much to see apart from the 40m high Lion's Mound.

Museums around Waterloo Belgium

• Panorama of the Battle (open Apr-Oct 9:30am-6:30pm; Nov-March 10:30am-5pm; entry 2.75 euro) at No 252 Route du Lion, near the visitors' centre.

• Wax Museum (open Apr-Sept 9:30am-7pm; Oct 10am-6pm, Nov-March & weekends 10am-5pm; entry 1.75 euro), opposite the Panorama.

• Wellington Museum (open Apr-Oct 9:30am-6:30pm; Nov-March 10:30am-5pm; entry 5 euro), at No 147 Chaussée de Bruxelles.

• Napoleon's Last Headquarters, also caled Caillou Museum or Napoleon Museum (open Apr-Oct 10am-6:30pm; Nov-March 1-5pm; entry 2 euro) at No 66 Chaussée de Bruxelles , 4 km south of the visitor center.

The battle of Waterloo Belgium ended the Napoleonic Wars when Napoleon I was defeated by the Duke of Wellington. This decided not only the fate of France and its emperor Napoleon I but also the future of Europe, when the French army met the united armies of Britain, Hanover, the Netherlands and Prussia. While the British general Wellington spoke of the "Battle of Waterloo", to the Prussian field marshal it was the "Battle of Belle-Alliance" since both generals met after the successful victory at the farm of this name. The fighting mostly took place in Braine-l'Alleud and the surrounding areas, history commemorates it under the name of the "Battle of Waterloo" with its monument, the "Butte du Lion" (the Lion's Mound).The actual battlefield lies at about 5 Km south of the city, in the nearby village of Mont-Saint-Jean.

Every year about June 15th the battles are re-enacted.

The most important sights are spread over several kilometers - start your visit at the Tourist Office in the village of Waterloo Belgium.

Start your visit with Musee Wellington
Wellington spent the eve of the battle in this old inn and it was here that his-aide-de-camp, Alexander Gordon died. Contains exhibits, battle plans, weapons and documentation about the battle and personal possessions of the British commander.

Next stop Waterloo Battlefield (5 km south of Waterloo Center)

The battlefield is situated mainly in the parish of Braine-l'Alleud and now appears a peaceful scene of pastures and fields of cereals. In summer a tourist train runs from Waterloo station to the Butte de Lion, west of the trunk road to Charleroi.

Start with the visitors center where by means of diagrams and computer screens details of the historic events can be studied. From here there is an entrance to Lion Hill..

Waterloo Belgium Visitors' Center
Route de Lion 252-254
B-1420 Braine-l'Alleud
Waterloo Belgium

Open 9:30 to 6:30 from April to September and 10 to 5 October to March.

Always closed on:
New Year's Day (January 1)
Christmas - Christian (December 25)

Guided tour available as optional extra.

Typical Visit: 1 hour

Behind the visitor's center is the Lion Hill / The Butte du Lion where 300.000 men from 7 nations confronted one another. It was constructed between 1823 and 1826 on the place where the Prince of Orange received his fatal wounds. The massive bronze lion stands with its right paw on a globe and looks to the south from where the French came. From the platform beneath the monument (over 226 steps to climb) there is a panoramic view of the battlefield.


It took women carting baskets of earth from the battlefield 2 years to built up the mound with 32,000cu.m / 42,000 cu.yd

Height: 40m / 131ft
Circumference: 520m/1,706ft on a supporting brick base.

On the summit was placed the sculpture of a lion by Arthur-Louis van Geel which weighs 28 tons and is more than 4m/13ft long.

You can climb the Lion's mount and discover the perfectly preserved battlefield.

Near the visitors' center stands a circular building which contains a 12m/39ft-high and 110m/330ft-long Panorama of the battle. This is a work by the French military painter Louis Dumoulin and dates from 1912 - 1914. A huge fresco, with sound effects, transporting you to the heart of the battle.

Opposite the Panorama is the Waxworks Museum / Musée des Cires. The 1818 waxworks museum displays 50 year old life size mannequins of chief figures of the battle and ordinary soldiers.

Waxworks Museum
Route du Lion 315-317
Waterloo Belgium

Also open on public holidays from 10-5.
Typical Visit: 1 hour

Napoleon's Last Headquarters / Musée du Caillou
4 km south of the visitors center in Vieux-Genappe is the Ferme du Caillou in which Napoleon spent his last night before the battle. It is now furnished as a museum with four rooms and includes among other things the emperor's tent.

Provincial Museum of the Caillou
Chaussee de Bruxelles 66
B-1472 Vieux-Genappe

Always closed on:
New Year's Day (January 1)
Christmas - Christian (December 25)
Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Typical Visit: 45 minutes

There are commemorative War Monuments in Waterloo Belgium on the extensive area of the former battlefield and around the crossing of the main road with the road to the Lion Hill.

• A monument erected in 1914 for the fallen of Belgium in the form of a stone column with bronze standards bearing an inscription in French

"To those Belgians who fell on June 18, 1815 in the battle for the defense of their standard and the honor of the armies"

• A monument surrounded by a railing for the men of Hanover with the inscription "In memory of their brothers in arms who fell on June 18, 1815"

• A monument for Lt. Col. Gordon, Wellington's adjutant, who was killed here.

Both the last named monuments stand on the level of the former battlefield, the surrounding area was removed for the erection of the Lion Hill. A path to the Lion Hill which passes the monuments corresponds to the course of the sunken road of Ohain. Other interesting monuments can be found further to the south:

• In Plancenoit is one to the fallen Prussians, a work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel dating from 1819

• The fallen French imperial eagle is at the spot where the guard made its last stand and where the saying
"the guard dies but does not yield" is reputed to have arisen.

You can also check out the castle-farm of Hougoumont, which was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting on 18 June 1815. The British battalion of Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell held firm for 9 hours before ceding to French assaults.

Similarily, the farm of Haie Sainte was a stronghold of the Allied forces on the day of the battle. The British King's German Legion and Dutch Nassau troops resisted all day but when 90% of the men had been killed or wounded, they were forced to retreat.

Opposite the museum rises the domed building of the Chapelle royale, built in 1690 and originally dedicated to the Spanish king Charles II. In 1817 the chapel was declared a memorial for the battle and was provided with burial plaques of the Allied soldiers who had died. These can now be seen in the adjoining church of Saint-Joseph.

Where to stay in Waterloo

Ibis Waterloo (Belgium) is located in the city centre, close to the business district and 1.5 km from the railway station as well as 17 km from the airport. The hotel is also just a short walk from the historic Battle of Waterloo battlefield. Book one of the 72 rooms and make use of the hotel's amenities including a restaurant, bar with a terrace area and snacks available 24 hours and free private outdoor parking. WiFi internet access is available. There is a tennis court 50 m from the hotel.

Waterloo (Belgium) hotels

How to get to Waterloo Belgium

By car/ Waterloo's Lion's Mound is near the intersection of the N5 (Chaussée de Charleroi) and Ring of Brussels (N27).

By public transport: the easiest way to reach Waterloo is by bus from Brussels's Avenue Fosny, in front of Gare du Midi ("South Station"). The bus takes about 40min until Waterloo's Wellingtom Museum and Tourist Office. The cheapest way is to purchase a day-card for 5.5 euro.

By train: Waterloo's train station is several km north of the touristic attractions. It takes 21 to 33min from Brussels's Gare du Midi (longer from other stations) or 52min from Charleroi Sud, but you'll need to take a bus or taxi from the station.

Return from Waterloo Belgium to Day Trips

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