Mons Memorial Museum

Top choice in Wallonia

This superb museum mostly covers Mons' experience of the two world wars, though the constant sieges of this town's turbulent history are also mentioned. It gets the balance just right between military history, personal testimony of civilians and soldiers, and thought-provoking items on display. Some seriously good visuals make the to-and-fro (and the years spent stuck in the mud) of WWI instantly comprehensible, and there's an animated 3D film on the legend of the Angels of Mons.

Mons was the scene of the first British involvement in WWI, and its liberation coincided with the end of the conflict. In between, the city lived through a four-year German occupation, an experience it relived just 22 years later. The museum's strength is its focus on the human side of war, whether through soldiers' diaries or the day-to-day hardships of civilians. Poignant items are numerous, including a cross made by locals for a German and an English soldier buried together, and the tombstone of the last WWI soldier killed, two minutes before the armistice.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Wallonia attractions

1. Hôtel de Ville


Mons' splendid 15th-century city hall is the most visually arresting building on the photogenic, café-lined Grand Place. It has become customary among…

2. Beffroi

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The 87m-tall Unesco-listed baroque belfry is a 17th-century marvel topped by black-and-gold mini-domes. The lift takes you up to only 36m, though the…

3. Trésor de Sainte Waudru

0.46 MILES

The small church treasury displays Ste-Waudru’s shrouds and, in a reliquary, a sword-slashed skull – supposedly of sainted Merovingian king Dagobert II…

4. BAM

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This modernist glass cube of a gallery is the product of a rebuild for the city's tenure as a European Capital of Culture in 2015. It hosts temporary…

5. Musée du Doudou

0.48 MILES

Head through the Hôtel de Ville on the Grand Place to reach this museum, dedicated to Mons' riotous Doudou festival. All aspects of this curious event, as…

6. Collégiale Ste-Waudru

0.48 MILES

Within this lofty, airy, 15th-century Gothic church you'll find the golden reliquary of Ste-Waudru (hanging above the altar) and the fanciful 1782 Car d…

7. Musée François Duesberg

0.58 MILES

If you’re a fan of exotic gilded clocks, dazzling porcelain and silver coffeepots from 1775 to 1825, check out the rich collection at this sumptuous three…

8. Artothèque


Ever thought it was a pity that all those items sat in museum storerooms, never seeing the light of day? Well, this innovative space in a former convent…