The Wargamer

26 May 2017

Editorial: Protect Waterloo Battlefield and Quatre-Bras

Quatre-Bras at risk of demolition

Published on 2 MAY 2014 6:14am by Nik Gaukroger
  1. background / research material, napoleonics, europe, english

Amongst all the usual email I receive day in, day out, I came across this one – an appeal to support the preservation of the Waterloo battlefield, and the farm at Quatre-Bras where the Allies and French clashed 2 days prior to the “main event”. With the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo next year, and indeed the Battle of Quatre-Bras, this seems a very opportune moment to help preserve and remember one of the most significant battles in European history. I would encourage readers to support both of these initiatives.


Dear Friends of History, 

We have two important messages on the eve of the bicentenary of the Waterloo campaign. 

First of all, the Walloon government (in charge for this matter in Belgium), wants to extend the historically protected area of the Waterloo battlefield.  This is a very good thing, but since there is some local opposition, we have put up a petition in support of that project. We need your support! Please read and sign the petition here:  And don't forget to confirm your signature by clicking on the link in the e-mail that you will receive. Sign and share please!

Secondly, a new request has been introduced to destroy the historic Quatre-Bras farm, maybe the last witness of the famous battle of 16 June 1815 (two day before Waterloo). Already in September 2008, in February 2011 and in 2012-2013, we appealed to many of you in order to save from it from destruction. Our appeal met a great success and thanks to your massive response, the project was rejected and the authorization to destroy the historic farm turned down. Now, again, the owner, a property developer, has introduced a new request to destroy the farm buildings in order to build a shop and an elderly home. More information here:

Again, we have to stand up against this project and express our disapproval of it. We already had some important support from the French side, but we desperately need British and Dutch (and other) support too!  If some British and Dutch (Napoleonic or military) personalities, associations and museums would care to send a letter to the "Administration communale" of both towns, we are sure this could have some impact!

The farm being located at the border of two districts, the e-mails and/or letters of rejection have to be addressed to both municipalities:


- at Genappe:     by e-mail at:


and/or by mail at:


Au Collège Communal,

Espace 2000, 3,

B-1470 Genappe


- at Villers-la-Ville : by e-mail at and, the two local officials in charge of the town planning at Villers-la-Ville. (If one of these addresses gives an error message, please try again, their mailbox has already been saturated once.)


BEFORE 9 MAY 2014 (after that date, it's too late). Don't forget to mention name, address and phone number, and also "Fait à... " "Done at"+ the place where you are and the date.



It is interesting to note the differences in attitude towards the preservation of battlefields in Europe and the USA – apologies to elsewhere, I have no personal experience of the situations but would be very interested to hear at In the USA there is a strong movement to preserve their battlefields and keep them from being developed, whilst it seems to me that in Europe there is much less of this – indeed, many battlefields are now lost to us. Now there are a number of factors that must affect this, not least that there are many more known battles in Europe than there are in the USA and it would just not be possible to preserve them all in modern times – and the actual sites of many are not know for sure either. Also the USA has much more physical space than Europe, where we are crowded together in urban settlements much more than in the USA. However, despite this there does seem to be less interest in battlefield preservation in Europe. I wonder if readers have any suggestions as to why this is?