Waterloo (pop. 29,000) lies 18km south of central Brussels, between the suburbs of St-Genesius-Rode and Braine l'Alleud.
Waterloo became one of the world's most famous battlefield after Napoleon was defeated here on 18 June 1815, by the combined Anglo-Dutch troops under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and the Prussian army under Marshal Blücher.
History buffs will be delighted by the numerous museums retracing the events of the celebrated battle, but for others there is no so much to see apart from the 40m high Lion's Mound (Butte du Lion in French). The mound was created soon after the battle by women using baskets of earth and took 2 years to complete. Visitors can climb the 226 steps to the summit for 1 € (open Apr-Oct 9:30am-6:30pm, Nov-March 10:00am-5:00pm).
The very interesting visitors' centre (open Apr-Sept 9:30am-6:30pm; Oct-March 10:30am-5pm; entry 5 €), at No 252-254 Route du Lion, offers an audiovisual spectacle explaining the events of the battle.
The museums around Waterloo are :
- Panorama of the Battle (open Apr-Oct 9:30am-6:30pm; Nov-March 10:30am-5:00 pm; entry 2.75 €) at No 252 Route du Lion, near the visitors' centre.
- Wax Museum (open Apr-Sept 9:30am-7:00pm; Oct 10am-6:00pm, Nov-March & weekends 10:00am-5:00pm; entry 1.75 €), opposite the Panorama.
- Wellington Museum (open Apr-Oct 9:30am-6:30pm; Nov-March 10:30am-5:00pm; entry 5 €), at No 147 Chaussée de Bruxelles.
- Napoleon's Last Headquarters, also caled Caillou Museum or Napoleon Museum (open Apr-Oct 10am-6:30pm; Nov-March 1-5pm; entry 2 €) at No 66 Chaussée de Bruxelles , 4 km south of the visitor center.
The 110 metres long and 12 metres high circular Panorama of the Battle is probably the most interesting. It was painted in 1912 by Louis Dumoulin.
Scots Cavalry attacking French artillery at Waterloo
Prussians Army at Placenoit, near Waterloo.
You can also check the castle-farm of Hougoumont, which was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting on 18 June 1815. The British battalion of Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell held firm for 9 hours before ceding to French assaults.
Similarily, the farm of Haie Sainte was a stronghold of the Allied forces on the day of the battle. The British King's German Legion and Dutch Nassau troops resisted all day but when 90% of the men had been killed or wounded, they were forced to retreat.
Check the Official website of the battle of Waterloo for more information on the events and sightseeing spots.
Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
How to get there
By car, Waterloo's Lion's Mound is near the intersection of the N5 (Chaussée de Charleroi) and Ring of Brussels (N27).
By public transport, the easiest way to reach Waterloo is by bus from Brussels's Avenue Fosny, in front of Gare du Midi ("South Station"). The bus takes about 40min until Waterloo's Wellingtom Museum and Tourist Office. The cheapest way is to purchase a day-card for 5.5 €.
Alternatively, Waterloo can be reached by train, but Waterloo's train station is several km north of the tourist attractions. It takes 21 to 33min from Brussels's Gare du Midi (longer from other stations) or 52min from Charleroi Sud, but you'll need to take a bus or taxi from the station.
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