Canadian Polish WWII Museum

We stumbled upon this place literally by accident.  While staying in Bruges at the B&B on one of the maps I saw a little logo of this place.  It seemed very odd and rather surprising that there would be a museum dedicated specifically to both Canadian and Polish Soldiers for WWII efforts.  This is a private museum run by Van Landschoot  family.  Maurice  Van Landschoot made his son Gilbert promise him to do something to honour and repay his debt to Polish and Canadian soldiers who not only saved his life during WWII but also liberated their village and a large part of  Belgium while the allied troops stood and watched.  General Montgamery viewed Polish and Canadian soldiers as cannon meat.  Both of these troop would be given food rations once every two days to minimize food loses,  while the allied troops not taking part in the house to house, street by street battle who were stationed 150km from the front were given rations twice a day.  It was the Belgians who took care of the wounded and who fed these soldiers..  The family was offered  $1M donation to change the Polish Eagle to US eagle on the museum – they declined.  In turn US government donated $15M to build a new museum in Brussels, which closed a few months later.  Van Landschoot has been running this place for 20 years now, opening its doors to over 50,000 visitors per year.  The museum is well done and worth the few kilometre diversion from the main road.  Most of the exhibits have been donated by the local families, there are over 270 full uniforms, lots of medals, guns, equipment and even a tank.  There are over 2 million miniature soldiers arranged on miniature battle fields.  The attention to detail is mind boggling.  Each vignette tells a different story, each is amazing.  This is a must see place for anyone visiting Belgium who wants to know the truth not as it was agreed on by the politicians but the truth as told by people who lived through the war and saw with their own eyes as it unfolded before them  This is the motto of Van Landschoot family and the theme of these museum.  This has been one of the best places and the best money we spent on this trip!

 

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