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European Youth Portal

Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.


AFS- In Flanders Fields Museum

EVS Accreditation Details
EVS accreditation type
EVS accreditation expiry date 01/10/2016
Location Ieper, Belgium
Organisation topics
European awareness
Inclusion topics

EVS accreditation number


For more information about volunteering and European Voluntary Service in particular, visit the Voluntary Activities section of this website.

Please note, information about organisations and projects is only available in English.
Project Environment

Outline the project environment for the suggested voluntary Service, including the local community where the project will take place (e.g. geographical, social and economical environment). If the host placement is located in a live-in community, please include the rules and conditions that apply also for the volunteer.
- Ypres (/ˈiːprə/; French pronunciation: [ipʁ]; Dutch: Ieper, pronounced [ˈipər]) is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. Though Ieper is the Dutch and only official name, the French Ypres is most commonly used in English for its role in World War I, when Belgian maps still named Flemish cities only by their French names. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote. Together, they count some 34,900 inhabitants.

- Yper is a city with lot’s of facilities: all kinds of shops, a hospital and the city is reachable by train...As the Cloth Hall (our workplace) is lying in the centre of the city, all things mentioned above, are very close-by on foot or by bike!
For a day out the coast is very close (40 km), our capital Brussels is easily reachable by train (121km). As Yper is not far from the French border even the city of Lille is close-by (40 km).so there are plenty of possibilities!

Proposed activities for EVS volunteers:
Please explain:
• what you can offer to volunteers in terms of Service and learning opportunities,
• what will be the role of EVS volunteers in the Host Organisation,
• the activities in which the volunteers could be involved and the activities the volunteers could create in your organisation. Please give examples of typical activities/tasks for the volunteers.
Activities and tasks for the volunteer:
- (30% of the workload) Helping with research personal stories. In the permanent exhibition, visitors can activate 4 stories of individuals (three war stories (1914, 1915-1916 and 1917-1918) and one post-war story. The database of those stories needs to be enlarged and is work-in-progress...
- (10% of the workload) Giving assistance in preparing exhibitions. In november a large temporary exhibition about the medical care in wartime will open. Leading up to there will be a lot of preparative work for the volunteer.
- (20% of the workload) Answering questions visitors Research Centre. Because WWI was a global and multicultural conflict, people from all over the world visit our museum and in general there is a gaining interest in the subject. Because of the interest, the research centre of the museum receives a all kinds of questions from individuals.
- (10% of the workload) Checking translations for intance of publications the museum makes at regular intervals.
- (30% of the workload) Helping to compose ‘The Namelist’. Almost 100 years after the war 'to end all wars' which had an everlasting influence on the Westhoek, our country, Europe and the world, there still is no integrated name list of all the victims who fell in the Westhoek, not to mention the whole of Belgium. Partial lists, for which great efforts were and are made, are present at various organisations. But irrespective of their good intentions, those lists do not provide an overview. Until today all the victims' lists are a matter of nationality. Each nation involved has registered its own dead at the most. The dead of the other party or even allies are left unnamed. Regional census is totally absent too. If we want to fully grasp the story of the Great War and its impact to the present day, we have to and must dare to look beyond those existing figures.
For all those reasons, the Province West Flanders and the In Flanders Fields Museum have joined forces to create ‘The Name list’. A list of all the fatalities linked to the First World War in Belgium. A unique tool where every victim, irrespective of nationality, both military and civilian, can be found. A list that registers all those involved by name, origin and date (of death and/or remembrance), which provides an easy and clear way to gain better insight in facts occurred in the First World War. The list teaches us more about our common history and the events that shaped our identity.The Name List will never be complete, but the province of West Flanders and the In Flanders Fields Museum want to achieve a list that approaches historical reality as closely as possible by 2014. An estimated 600,000 victims were mourned in Belgium, out of them more than 550,000 in West Flanders. The volunteer could do a great number of work to achieve this goal!
Upon arrival we’ll communicate about these tasks with our volunteer. According to the interests and the skills of the EVS volunteer we’ll distribute the tasks.

The workweek starts on Mondays and ends on Fridays. On Mondays we will have a stafmeeting on which all the staf has to be presen. The working hours are: 8h-12h, 12h-13h lunchbreak, 13h-17h.
During the weekends the research centre is closed.
The volunteer will receive 2 free days per month. Togheter with the project will be discussed when it is appropriate to take those days.

The coordinating host organisation AFS will organise language courses. The volunteer will receive 30 hours of Dutch lessons spread over the 8 or 10 first weeks of the project.

Volunteer profiles and recruitment process:
Please describe the profiles of volunteers you would like to receive in your organisation. Include information on how you ensure an open and transparent recruitment process as well as the overall accessibility of EVS to all young people. Consider further information about the type of Sending Organisation you want to cooperate with. This information can help the match-making between volunteer candidates, Sending Organisations and your organisation.
In Flanders Fields museum is looking for a volunteer interested in the First World War. It is important that the volunteer is a social person, and can listen actively to stories people will share with him/her about their experience during the war, or stories about the war. The volunteer should be able to work independently but also that (s)he fits in a team as well.

AFS, the coordinating host organisation, strongly believes in the intercultural learning aspect of an EVS-experience. Therefore, the volunteer will be living with a volunteer host family, as we believe this is the best introduction to Flemish culture and a great opportunity to integrate in the local community. Candidates should be willing to share in the host family's daily life (spend some free time with them, occasionally join the family on activities outside the house, eat together, give a helping hand in the household... ) and should be motivated to live with and learn about Flemish people of different ages and opinions. They should also be willing to adapt to the local eating habits. On the other hand, we guarantee a family that is interested to learn about your culture and background and that respects your values and beliefs. Living in a host family is an excellent opportunity for both the participant and the family to broaden their cultural horizons! Our sending partners will emphasize this host family stay reality to all potential volunteers and will provide enough information and a chance to talk with someone with experience with living in a host family. All our sending partners have a lot of experience with host family stay programs and can provide all necessary information about it. The sending partners will ask all candidates who already know they prefer to live independently, to refrain from applying for this project.

Number of volunteers hosted:
Please state the maximum number of volunteers your organisation is able to host at the same time (ensuring all quality, learning, and welfare standards of EVS for each volunteer):1

Risk prevention, protection and safety:
Please describe:
• how you will guarantee a safe living and working environment for the EVS volunteers,
• how you will prevent risks and crises,
• how – in the case of EVS volunteers aged 16 or 17 – you ensure appropriate supervision, protection and safety.
The project will assign a personal mentor / contact person to the participant, so he/she can always ask this person for help or guidance.
AFS, as coordinating host organisation will give every project and every participant a local contact person, that will stay in contact and will regularly ask for an evaluation to improve the situation for all parties. In case of emergency, AFS has an emergency-mobile phone, which can be reached 24h/24h, in case of emergencies.

Motivation and EVS experience

In a country where war was fought, it lingers, even if that war is already a century behind us. For each of the more than 600,000 dead who fell here, for each of the more than 425,000 graves and names on memorials and for the hundreds of traces and relics in the front region, for each of the millions affected (physically or psychologically wounded, refugees and displaced persons) there is a story of suffering, pain and ordeal somewhere in the world.
The City of Peace Ypres and the In Flanders Fields Museum conserve the link with the war past. Because it is important for those who want to speak about peace and war today.
Because WWI was a global and multicultural conflict, people from all over the world visit our museum and in general there is a gaining interest in the subject of the war. Because of the interest in the subject, the research centre of the museum receives a lot of questions from individuals about their ancestors. On the other hand the centenary celebrations are close-by. All kinds of organizations ask advise or help for a project. To be able to realize this, the In Flanders Fields Museum (IFFM) has an enthusiast crew. But without the help of volunteers and trainees, we can already count on, we wouldn’t be able to serve the visitors that well. Therefore an EVS experience would be very enriching for us as well as for the volunteer.

Description of the organisation

AFS is an international, voluntary, non profit organisation that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more peaceful world. AFS does this through several exchange programs, like EVS.
AFS works in cooperation with several AFS partners in more than 50 countries worldwide. On a European level we are represented by the European federation for Intercultural Learning.
The In Flanders Fields Museum presents the story of the First World War in the West Flanders front region. It is located in the renovated Cloth Halls of Ypres, an important symbol of wartime hardship and later recovery. The completely new permanent exhibition (opening 11 June 2012) tells the story of the invasion of Belgium and the first months of the mobilisation, the four years trench war in the Westhoek - from the beach of Nieuwpoort to the Leie in Armentières -, the end of the war and the permanent remembrance ever since.
The focus of the scenography is the human experience and calls particular attention to the contemporary landscape as one of the last true witnesses of the war history. In that context, a visit can also be arranged to the belfry, from where you have a view over the city and the surrounding battlefields. Hundreds of authentic objects and images are presented in an innovative experience-orientated layout. Lifelike characters and interactive installations confront the contemporary visitor with his peers in the war, a century ago.
The museum works from many possible perspectives The general and military - historical is important, but also the relation with the present, our approach - as human and society - to our past and that of all other countries involved. People from five continents and more than fifty different countries and cultures took part in the war in Flanders. Our public is diversified and extremely international.
The In Flanders Fields museum is much more than a permanent exhibition. There is a current educational action for students from inland and abroad, besides a cultural and artistic programme. In the research centre of the museum every visitor can delve deeper into that dramatic period of the history of the world. Individually you can research the big, global background story here as well as the very personal and local history.
In the research centre work 11 people. The volunteer will be working with them.
Because the nature of war does not change in time, the museum considers presenting this war story as a universal and contemporary message of peace, and therefore an important social mission. The museum works closely together with partners who share its mission and works within the framework of Ypres City of Peace.

Contact details
Please note, the selected organisation cooperates with a different EVS organisation to handle enquiries on its behalf.
Organisation name AFS Intercultural Programs - Belgium Flanders
Street Hendrik Consciensestraat 52
Postal code 2800
Town/city Mechelen
Country Belgium
Email address evs-belgiumflanders@afs.org
Website www.inflandersfields.be
Telephone number +32 15 79 50 10
Fax number +32 15 79 50 11

Last update: 08/10/2013