Radio 2

“I felt the headstones, the flowers and the marble plaques”

Yesterday’s Open Monuments’ Day was a tremendous success, also at the Tyne Cot cemetery in Passchendaele (Zonnebeke – West Flanders), where for a first time the visually impaired were able to go on a guided tour in which touching and listening were the prime requirements.

The theme of this year’s Open Monuments’ Day was diversity: the focus was on different cultures, but also on the inclusion of people with visual and auditory handicaps.  Yesterday the blind, the deaf and hard of hearing too gained an opportunity to learn everything about the famous Great War cemetery.

Guides told the whole story and visitors were encouraged to feel the headstones.  Guide Nathalie Dumont: “I described the landscape, extensively, the headstones and the monuments.”

Instead of the customary map visitors were handed a sheet on which they could feel the entire location.  Marlies Callewaert was a first-time visitor: “I felt the headstones, the flowers and the marble remembrance plaques.  I thought it was well worthwhile.  I knew the headstones all stood in a row but I hadn’t realised the form they took.”   

Radio 2

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