Collegiate Church of Notre Dame and Citadel, Dinant

August 23rd 2014: Belgian King visits Dinant on Centenary of First World War massacre

Posted on on 23 August 2014
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King Philippe of the Belgians is attending commemorations in Dinant today for 674 civilians who were shot by the invading German Army 100 years ago.

A new carillon will be inaugurated in the bulb-shaped bell tower of the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, and a memorial to the dead opened in gardens nearby.

Together with much of Dinant, Notre Dame was destroyed after the town fell to the Germans on 23rd August 1914.

Belgian and French forces trying to defend the strategic crossing over the Meuse were forced to retreat after several days of stiff resistance.

Fearing sniper attacks, German troops rounded up civilians, carried out summary executions and set light to buildings.

Dinant is among Belgium's seven 'Martyr Cities' holding commemorations to mark the atrocities committed in the opening weeks of the First World War.

In Leuven, there will be performances of Mozart's Requiem on August 24th and 25th 2014, as well as a light show, to mark the centenary of the University Library's destruction by fire.

The German President, Joachim Gauck, joined King Philippe in laying a wreath at the Martyrs' Memorial during a visit to Leuven at the start of Belgium's centenary commemorations on August 4th.

More details of First World War Centenary events in Belgium can be found on the websites of the Belgian Tourist Office - Brussels & Wallonia; and Visit Flanders.

Sources: Belgian Monarchy website; Ville de Dinant

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News