Passendale (ˈpɑsəndaˑlə) or Passchendaele (obsolete spelling, retained in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

) is a rural Belgian
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 village in the Zonnebeke
Zonnebeke is a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the villages of Beselare, Geluveld, Passendale, Zandvoorde and Zonnebeke proper. On January 1, 2006 Zonnebeke had a total population of 11,758...

 municipality of West Flanders province. The town is close to the town of Ypres
Ypres is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote...

, and is commonly known as a battlefield and the name of a campaign during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Battle of Passchendaele.

Early History

In the pre-Roman and Roman times the area of the town was located along the border between the Menapii
The Menapii were a Belgic tribe of northern Gaul in pre-Roman and Roman times. Their territory according to Strabo, Caesar and Ptolemy stretched from the mouth of the Rhine in the north, and southwards along the west of the Schelde. Their civitas under the Roman empire was Cassel , near Thérouanne...

 and Morini
The Morini were a Belgic tribe in the time of the Roman Empire. We know little about their language but one of their cities, Boulogne-sur-Mer was called Bononia by Zosimus and Bonen in the Middle Ages. Zosimus mentioned the Low Germanic character of the city...

The Belgae were a group of tribes living in northern Gaul, on the west bank of the Rhine, in the 3rd century BC, and later also in Britain, and possibly even Ireland...

 tribes of northern Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 and later the border between the bishoprics of Tournai
Tournai is a Walloon city and municipality of Belgium located 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, on the river Scheldt, in the province of Hainaut....

 and Thérouanne
Thérouanne is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.-Geography:Thérouanne is located 10 miles southwest of Saint-Omer, on the D157 and D341 road junction.-Population:-History:...

The town is first recorded in 844 as Pascandale, likely named after an individual by the name of Paulus, Pascan or Pasko. In the Middle Ages, most of the region was ruled by the Augustine
The term Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo , applies to two separate and unrelated types of Catholic religious orders:...

 abbey of Zonnebeke and the Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 convent of Nonnebossen. Both the abbey and the convent were destroyed during an iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

 in 1580.

World War I

Passchendale Ridge (200 ft). Gives its name in common parlance to a major battle of the First World War, officially the 3rd battle of Ypres. A British offensive battle against the Germans, lasting July 31 - Nov. 30, 1917. After 16 weeks of bitter fighting in appalling conditions of rain, mud and slime, about one-sixth of the initial objective had been gained at a cost of nearly 400,000 British casualties (17,000 officers), leveling the entire town. Nearly 400,000 German soldiers gave their lives defending it.


Different nations' war cemeteries are found in Passendale: Tyne Cot Cemetery
Tyne Cot Cemetery
Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial ground for the dead of the First World War in the Ypres Salient on the Western Front...

 (the largest Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 cemetery in the world), the New British Cemetery, the Canadian Memorial and the New Zealand Forces Memorial. The town also hosts a war museum as well as numerous memorials dedicated to the different nationalities that participated in the epic battle.

Every year, Passendale hosts a number of commemorative events and exhibitions, with 2008 being the 90th memorial commemorations of the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


Local produce

Passendale is internationally famous for its pale, ale-style beer, which is served in a distinctive glass of the same name. The town is also known for Passendale cheese
Passendale cheese
Passendale cheese, named for Passendale, the village where it originated, is one of the best-known cheeses in Belgium. The regular Passendale cheese exists in two variations called Passendale Classic and Passendale Prelude. And next to the regular Passendale, there is a quality version called...

, and hosts an annual cheese festival every August.

External links

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