The Ardennes town of Bastogne is a Walloon town in southern Belgium and it was the site of one of World War II’s most notorious struggles, the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Most of the town’s attractions relate to this landmark battle, including the star-shaped Mardasson American War Memorial; the Wood of Peace, where 4,000 trees were planted on the 50th anniversary of the battle; and the Sherman tank that belonged to the US Army’s 11th Division. Opened in 2014 and housed in a striking contemporary building whose roof echoes the shape of the Mardasson memorial, the Bastogne War Museum relates the backstory of the build-up to World War II, from the US stock market crash in 1929 that heralded economic depression across the world, to the emergence of Nazi fanaticism in Germany. A collection of modern, interactive exhibits pays homage to the 76,890 US soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge through a series of personal testimonies, displays of uniforms, maps and weaponry, and graphic black-and-white footage of the battle’s aftermath. Vivid interactive displays allow visitors to experience machine-gun bombardment in a Bastogne café and gunfire in a mortar emplacement.
Colline du Mardasson, 5, 6600 Bastogne. Open Jul–Aug daily 9.30am–7pm; Sept–Jun Tue–Sun 9.30am–6pm. Closed Jan 4–Feb 5. Admission adults €12, children and students €8, under age 6 go free, family ticket €32. The museum is best reached by road.