Lightfront: Passing the flame, the symbol of 'no more war', to the next generation


On 17 October 2014 the province of West Flanders organised the great light spectacle 'Lightfront' in remembrance of the First World War. The 'Lightfront' evoked the front line as it was in October 1914, after the flooding of the Yser plain and the end of the battle after the First Battle of Ypres. All along the 84 km trajectory from Nieuwpoort to Ploegsteert 8500 volunteers lit up the old front line with burning torches.

Besides this front line made of light, the 9 following historic locations also displayed creative 'burning' works of art: the locks at Nieuwpoort, the IJzer tower in Diksmuide, the three ditches 'Drie Grachten' site in Houthulst, the Germany Military cemetery ‘Soldatenfriedhof’ in Langemark, Hill 60 in Ypres, Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passendale, the Pool of Peace 'Spanbroekmolenkrater' in Wijtschate, the football field in Mesen and the Memorial to the Missing in Ploegsteert.

Also, during Lightfront ’14 the projection of the List of names began. This list contains the names of 600,000 victims who died on Belgian soil. The victims are of all nationalities; both citizens and soldiers. The List of names is projected as a silent homage at three iconic buildings in the Westhoek: the Albert-I monument in Nieuwpoort, the IJzer tower in Diksmuide and the Belfort tower in Ypres.

The Lightfront is a moment of deep reflection where the focus is entirely on the victims of World War I. The remembrance event was attended by King Filip and Queen Mathilde.

At the end of the great public event Lightfront in Ploegsteert Crown princess Elisabeth read out a text she had written herself in the three languages of Belgium. "We shall never forget those who died here. Now it's up to us, the young generation, to hold up the flame and form a light front as we did today", she concluded at the Lightfront.