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Green light for renovation of Menin Gate in Ypres

Menin Gate in Ypres to undergo restoration
20:11 01/12/2022

World War One memorial Menin Gate in Ypres will close at the beginning of 2023 for extensive renovation work ahead of its centenary in 2027.

But the Last Post will continue uninterrupted each night at 20.00, confirmed the Commonwealth Graves Commissions (CGWC) that manages the site.

It’s picking up the bill for the majority of the cost of renovation, with Flanders’ tourism and heritage department chipping in €1.6 million and the city of Ypres €300,000.

For over 90 years, the site has been a living memorial to fallen soldiers; inscribed with almost 55,000 names of British and Commonwealth troops missing in action. Traffic is halted every evening when the Last Post is sounded.

The extensive restoration work is expected to last for two years ahead of the memorial’s 100th anniversary. Its natural stone arches, brick facades, lion sculpture and sarcophagus are all to be renovated, while a new ecological green roof will be installed.

While the memorial is closed to the public, a ‘Virtual Menin Gate’ assures access to the names to the fallen.

The CGWC and Flemish local authorities signed an agreement for the project under the arches of the memorial.

Flemish minister of finance and budget, housing and immovable heritage, Matthias Diependaele, underlined the importance of the “iconic building” that told the story of “our shared history and Flemish identity”.

Financial support from the Flemish government and the city of Ypres would help keep the Menin Gate in best conditions for future generations, said CGWC director for central and southern Europe Geert Bekaert.

“Every day the people of Ypres continue to express gratitude with the Last Post Ceremony. The Menin Gate is therefore the link - the gateway, as it were - between the different nations, peoples and cultures that meet here." 

Written by The Bulletin