Selected as one of the "Top 50 Secret Experiences in Europe" in 2014 by Lonely Planet
The heritage of our great-grandfathers in the Argonne
Romagne 14-18 is gearing up for the forthcoming years, 1917 and 1918, to host all its visitors - especially the Americans that come to Europe follow to trail of their ancestors.
George Patton, John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing, Alvin Cullum York, Major Charles White Whittlesey, Harry S. Truman and Douglas Mac Arthur. Colorful names, American ‘landmarks’ in European history. Six names, six men: each of them famous in their own right, each in their own way present in World War I, some of them even decisive in the outcome of World War II. Do they really need an introduction? They are honored by history.
More than one million American soldiers came to Europe in these years. The 14,246 American soldiers who were killed in action during WWI have found eternal peace at the Romagne-sous-Montfaucon cemetery in the North-West of France. They are honored there and their sacrifice will not be forgotten.
A museum of imagination, a point of departure in France
Neighboring the American cemetery is the small museum, Romagne 14-18. Do not expect shiny grenades, shimmering bayonets or showcases explaining what you already see. Do not look for a timeline or any kind of chronology. Jean Paul de Vries, excavator of historic finds, curator lets the visitor feel the Great War stripped of its finery. Chaotic, as the war was. As he found the remains, so they are exhibited. Raw. Rows of guns with clogged rust, decaying helmets, a pile of identification tags under dusty glass, flasks, wine glasses, rotten boots. Silent witnesses of the life at and behind the front in the First World War. Presented with the utmost respect. It is your imagination that creates the story.
Digger, expert-guide and storyteller
Romagne 14-18 is crammed from baseboard to ceiling with objects found within a radius of ten kilometers around the museum. Everyone in Romagne and its surroundings knows Jean-Paul, the somewhat eccentric Dutchman, with stick, hat, dark jacket and the eyes of a hawk, who blazes across the fields in all weather conditions and in all seasons. A pilgrim, possessed of the Great War.
During his nearly forty years of collecting and roaming he has also gathered a mountain of very personal stories. It makes him the perfect guide for anyone who is interested in the history of their great-grandfather or great-uncle.
Ambassadors of Museum Romagne 14-18
The museum can count on the support of many well-known ambassadors. Not only in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, but also in the United States. Senators for instance. But the link with the past is perhaps presented most strong by the support of Mrs. Helen Patton.