Volunteers have to clean up spot where King Albert I died

Last week it was the anniversary of the death of Belgium’s Great War leader, King Albert I.  In the official version of Belgian history the king died in a mountaineering accident in March-les-Dames in 1934.  Photos of the neglected site of the accident appeared on social media and sparked Flemish heritage enthusiast Pascal Mathieu to launch an appeal to clean the place up.  At the weekend volunteers turned up to do just that!

In the night of 17 February it was exactly 87 years since King Albert’s fatal fall while rock climbing in Marche (Namur Province).  A large stone cross marks the place, but recent photos shared on social media showed how branches covered the cross and fly-tippers had done their work here too. 

Fleming Pascal Mathieu explains that as a former member of the Belgian armed forces he has great respect for the royal house of the Belgians and didn’t need anybody to tell him to go and clean the place up.

Pascal launched an appeal on Facebook.  In the event eight people turned up.  They spent the day removing the branches that obstructed the view of the cross and clearing up the rubbish.  Pascal hopes that in future the site will receive more respect.

“No explanation is provided at the site.  If you don’t know this is the place, you’ll simply drive past.  Coaches used to stop here.  Now you walk past without knowing what the place is.  In America or in France there would be a visitors’ centre at a place like this.”

“A commemorative plaque with a text win 4 languages wouldn’t be too much to ask.”

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