Although the war damage in Belgium was nowhere near the scale of the French 'regions dévastées', the Belgian countryside as well had to be restored.
This was particularly the case in Ypres and its surrounding areas. Passchendaele, Messines, Langemarck were only few of the villages that were completely wiped off the map. Refugees and policymakers openly questioned the possibility to reclaim the former battlefields. Nevertheless, and in contrast with the French case, the recovery of lost ground only took a few years.
Farmers returned, and with them farms and agriculture. This lecture concentrates on three questions: what were the steps taken to reconstruct Flanders fields, and how did they differ from the post-war recovery in France? How did the post-war landscapes look like, and to what extent did the Great War change them? And why did the “new” countryside develop the way it did?