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Follow in the footsteps of the Belgian soldiers on the Yser front and visit the Trench of Death in Dixmude

In October 1914 the Germans captured two large petroleum tanks situated in the flatlands along the Yser north of Diksmuide. From this vantage point, they monitor the comings and goings of the Belgians, a state of affairs Belgian military authorities wish to alter as soon as possible.

In early May 1915, the army launches several frontal attacks on the reservoirs, but well-placed German machineguns and targeted artillery bombings keep on repelling them. The Belgians then decide to dig an approach ditch in the Yser dyke, in the direction of the petroleum tanks and the German positions. The Germans did the same, and in late May 1915, a bloody engagement claimed many Belgian lives. Bodies can only be removed a few weeks later... The soldiers have by then nicknamed this trench Boyau de la Mort or Trench of Death.

After repeated German attacks in October 1915, the Belgians decided to shorten their trench. They pierce the Yser dyke, and both camps are then only separated by a narrow strip of water. This part of the Belgian front now becomes a lot calmer. The Belgians expand their positions into an impregnable stronghold with concrete bunkers, trenches, machine guns, and sniper posts. Simultaneously, the Germans create an efficient network of trenches and sturdy concrete bunkers.

Each day sees intense shelling, with one shot being answered by another. Trenches are devastated and bunkers destroyed, but everything is rebuilt time and again

The impasse was only broken in October 1918, when the Germans withdrew. By the end of 1918, the Ministry of Defence decided to preserve several important war sites, and the Trench of Death is one of them. The venue has become a huge tourist attraction.


Some 250 Belgian servicemen died in this infamous trench. The visitor centre tells its story, alongside that of the Germans, through interactive applications, photos, film footage, and more than a hundred original objects.


During the First World War the Trench of Death was hell on earth for the soldiers, today it is a must-see that is sure to deeply affect all visitors

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