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The Wellington Museum in Waterloo hosts the key exhibition of the Bicentenary:

Napoleon-Wellington : Shared Destinies

From 21 March to 31 July 2015

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As part of the commemorations for the Bicentenary of the Battle, the Wellington Museum decided to put on an unusual exhibition that differs from the more traditional approach that might have been adopted in Europe. Quite apart from the military genius for which both the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon are credited in history, there are fascinating aspects of their public lives about which little is known today. Their political, sentimental and family relationships influenced the choices they made, forged their characters and formed the basis of the legends that they would become. Who are they? What were the paths they took? What was the role of the women and the statesmen in their destinies?

  This unique “comparative” exhibition therefore recounts the public lives of these two belligerents on a chronological and thematic basis, taking the visitor to the very heart of these two men, who have since become legends.

Exciting lives, eternal legends

In fact, the Emperor and the Duke followed completely different paths.  Destined for military careers, their education proved difficult. They each found comfort in solitude. Napoleon wrote a book, Wellington learnt French in Brussels. Nevertheless they both developed a highly acute sense of politics and gained experience of it at an early age (take Wellington in India for example). Maybe it was already at this stage that they developed their great interest in secrecy and codes, which would become such a fundamental part of the way in which they governed? 

 

The importance of politics to their character and their choices should certainly not be underestimated. We are all familiar with the Code drawn up by Napoleon, which today bears his name. The Iron Duke also played an eminent role in the political history of his country, holding the post of Prime Minister for four years. As they themselves said, they are not just “soldiers playing at politics”. Was it not Napoleon at the end of his life who admitted to feeling more pride in the Code that he had drawn up than in the fifty battles that he had won? 

 

Despite the myth that would suggest that these men achieved their life’s work as individuals, it is clear that the extensive network of contacts that they developed played an important role in their hold on power. Whether it be Wellington or Napoleon, both were able to avoid certain pitfalls and errors thanks to unwavering family, military and political support. They themselves rewarded those faithful to them by granting prestigious titles in a sort of “huge team game”.  

 

Great soldiers in a career punctuated by victories, their confrontation continued in other surprising areas of their lives. Wellington and Napoleon are both well-known for the great success they had with the fairer sex. They even competed with each other with certain “amorous conquests” being common to both of them. Today they are part of a legend, with paintings, sculptures and novels all recounting their exploits. “Shared Destinies” seeks, in all humility, to offer an overview of the richness of their existence.

 

Unique artefacts for a wide audience

 

The exhibition is aimed at a wide and varied audience. It gives both an insight into the history of the battle and an added perspective by integrating certain aspects and objects.   Museum guides, trained specifically for the occasion, will be available throughout the exhibition to elaborate on the destinies of these two men by offering rare and unusual perspectives. Visitors will also have the opportunity to admire stunning exhibits for the very first time. The infamous bicorne hat worn by Napoleon during the battle will thus return to the place of its last feat of arms. Along with … the uniform worn by the Emperor in Saint Helena, Wellington’s cape, hat and legendary telescope, as well as their toiletries, their personal belongings, their  death masks … 

 

The exhibition is the result of an intense and productive collaboration between the Wellington Museum, the Fondation Napoléon and various prestigious institutions (Malmaison, National Army Museum, Musées de Sens …).

“Shared Destinies” brings together more than 250 unique and breath-taking exhibits. These offer visitors a fresh perspective on the private, sentimental and political lives of two protagonists who had a profound influence on the course of European history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOME PRATICAL INFORMATIONS …

 

ENTRANCE FEES MUSEUM

CATEGORY

INDIVIDUALS

GROUPS

PASS 1815 INDIVIDUALS ET GROUPS

ADULTS

7 €

5 €

+3 €

STUDENTS/SENIORS

5 €

3 €

+3 €

CHILDREN 7-12

3 €

2 €

+2 €

 

FEES COMBINATION EXHIBITION + MUSEUM

CATEGORY

INDIVIDUALS

GROUPS

ADULTS

12 €

8 €

STUDENTS/SENIORS

8 €

5 €

CHILDREN 7-12

6 €

4 €

 

 

Catalogue price (176 p.) : 16

GUIDED TOUR ON RESERVATION

60 € (20 pers. Maximum/group) – One hour long

         Open every day!

1/4 > 30/9 : 9.30 – 18.00

1/10 > 31/3 : 10.00 – 17.00

Chaussée de Bruxelles 147 – 1410 Waterloo

Tél : +32(0)2 357 28 60 – museewellington@skynet.be

www.museewellington.be