Belgian World War I Exhibition in the Military Museum of Bucharest

The Belgian Embassy in Bucharest in close cooperation with the Muzeul Militar will present an exhibition on the First World War in Belgium for the period in the summer months of 2015. Visitors will learn about the reality of four years of war which had a devastating effect on Belgium and imposed hardships on its population. During a 4 year long trench war in the North Western part of Belgium, known as Flanders Fields, hundreds of  thousands of soldiers died on a front which was mortified by constant shellings and reciprocal attacks.  The exhibition will show as well the military aspects as the daily life of the inhabitants next to the role which King Albert and Queen Elisabeth played in support of the wounded and disabled.

The First World War was not only a military reality, it also changed the country politically. After the war, the emancipation of the Flemish part of the country was translated into legal provisions while the introduction of a single vote system and social advantages for employees triggered a new democratic elan. Economically, the country had been very much devastated with the assets of many companies being destroyed. Regaining market positions caused a lot of difficulties and with the nationalization of Belgian interests in Russia and Ukraine, where in both countries Belgium before the First War was the first investor, Belgian enterprises lost an important part of its foreign outreach. In terms of economic capacities, it is estimated that Belgium lost 20% of its GDP because of the war. Belgium signed with Germany the Treaty of Versailles and was co-signer of the Treaty of Trianon. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Belgium and Romania have been very active partners in the League of Nations, promoting peace-keeping in a multilateral format as well as stimulating neutrality in their respective positions towards the increasing claims for the New Order ideologies.

The exhibition is the first time that the Muzeul Militar shows its collection of photo’s, costumes, helmets and decorations. The original aquarelles painted by Commander  Georges Gilson are also shown for the first time in Romania as are documents which have been provided by the Museum of Passchendaele, located in the province of Western Flanders.

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