The First World War, also known as the Great War, was the first international conflict on a global scale. Millions of soldiers and civilians from no less than 50 countries lost their lives in ‘Flanders Fields’. The Government of Flanders is therefore strongly committed to commemorate the victims of the First World War, particulary during the centenary years 2014-2018.
One of the commemoration projects was the establishment of a memorial garden in London, as a gift from Flanders to thank the British people for their sacrifice in liberating our country. The garden is also a permanent reminder of hope, peace, reconciliation and international solidarity.
The Flanders Fields Memorial Garden is located at Wellington Barracks alongside the Guards Chapel and was solemnly opened on 6 November 2014 by both countries' Royal Families and Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.
The garden did not only bring together the military and officials from both countries, it provided a unique opportunity to twin British and Belgian schools for this project. In September 2013, soil from the military cemeteries and from the battlefields was gathered in sandbag by school children. That soil from Flanders Fields was then been incorporated in the memorial garden, as a quintessential part of it, enhancing the garden's symbolic value.