Any history buff will be very familiar with the Battle of Waterloo, but this vital 1815 battle also comes with a great place to visit and understand much more about the battle, the people and the place. It doesn't hurt that this area of Belgium is beautifully green and open, and a lovely place to drive through on the way to seeing this sight.
The unusual and unnatural looking hill known as Lion's Mound was built just 11 years after the battle, and had stood in central Belgium for the last 200 years. It is supposedly the site where a musket ball hit William II (Prince of Orange) and knocked him off his horse, but is also the monument to celebrate the British victory over the French. Climbing the 225 steps will give you a vantage point over the entire battle field and the surrounding countryside from 141 feet up, where you can really get a feeling for the battle.
The views from the hill are fantastic (and this area if very flat which helps) but at the bottle of the hill visitors will find the Panorama of the Battle of Waterloo. The round building contains a huge panoramic oil painting that is 110 metres long and 13 metres high, painted by Louis Dumoulin in 1912. For me it was the panorama that really helped me to get a sense of the battle, and also a powerful feeling from the enormity and chaos of it. The painting is obviously huge, but that size brings with it a visceral tangibleness that is missing from a lot of military history sites.
There is also a museum in the town, dedicated to the victor of the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley) and visitors can see where he spent the night before the battle, and also a lot of information and the man himself, and the different parts and locations of the battle.
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