Zonnebeke Church Dugout will temporarily open from July 31-November 10 (Photo © Eric Compernolle)

Passchendaele Centenary opening for 'Zonnebeke Church Dugout'

Posted on centenarynews.com on 17 March 2017
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A preserved First World War dugout is to be specially opened in Belgium for the 2017 commemorations marking the Third Battle of Ypres/Passchendaele Centenary.

Built by the Allies under Zonnebeke Church, the tunnels consist of a main gallery, almost 29 metres long, as well as side corridors, five other rooms and two stairways.

The complex is one of the best preserved in the region, the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 says.

Its announcement of this year's temporary opening for the July-November Centenary comes after a six-month feasibility study by engineers and scientists.

Archaeologists first investigated the Great War site in 1989.


Lying five metres underground, the dugout has been drained as part of a joint project involving the Memorial Museum Passchendaele and the municipality of Zonnebeke.

"Given the historic importance of this dugout and the temporary nature of this project, we are convinced of the added value and the accompanying international interest during the upcoming commemoration period," said museum director Steven Vandenbussche.

"This 'once in a lifetime experience' is fully consistent with the philosophy that we use for the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917: a military history museum where the experience is an important aspect".

Online booking to visit the 'Zonnebeke Church Dugout' opens on 1 May 2017 through the Memorial Museum Passchendaele website. For safety reasons, visitor numbers will be limited to a total of 50,000 during the July 31-November 10 Centenary. The project is a joint venture between the museum and the municipality of Zonnebeke,  supported by the Flemish Government and the Flanders Heritage Agency.

Also in Centenary News:

Third Battle of Ypres/Passchendaele: Centenary events lookahead

Images © Eric Compernolle

Posted by: CN Editorial Team