Crowds on the Antwerp Peace Bridge (© Visit Flanders)

Centenary update: overwhelming interest in Antwerp's pontoon bridge

Posted on on 07 October 2014
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Tens of thousands of people have crossed a pontoon bridge built in Antwerp to mark the 100th anniversary of the Belgian city's siege in 1914.

The Peace Bridge, centrepiece of a weekend of cultural commemorations from October 3rd-5th 2014, remembered the civilians and Allied soldiers who escaped on pontoons over the River Scheldt a century ago as the German Army attacked Antwerp.

Public interest was so great that tickets for some of the half-hour entry slots were cancelled because of capacity problems.

It's understood visitors took longer than expected to make their way across the temporary structure, with its river views of the city. 

The organisers have expressed regret to those who were disappointed and promised refunds. Details are available on the Antwerpen 14-18 website.

Belgian and Dutch army engineers built the pontoon bridge on the site of its First World War predecessor. It was opened by King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium.

The project was part of the Peace Centre of Antwerp's Centenary commemorative programme.

Antwerp briefly became the capital of Belgium after the German invasion of August 4th 1914 which brought Britain into the First World War 

The city formally surrendered on October 10th 1914 after a siege lasting almost two weeks.

Images courtesy of Visit Flanders

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News