Flanders commemorates the First World War
'Bardic Chairs' in the Flemish Parliament
The Flemish Parliament is hosting an exhibition on “Hedd Wyn Centenary Chair” from 24 May onwards. It is a collaborative project between the Welsh National Memorial & Hedd Wyn Society, the Thomas More University College and the Government of Flanders on the occassion of the centenary of the Battle of Passendale during the First World War, focusing on the bonds between Flanders and Wales.
The bardic chair for Hedd Wyn
A hundred years ago, around the Flemish village of Passendale, one of the most gruesome battles during the First World War was fought in Flanders Fields. Many commemoration events will be held on the occasion of its centenary, including those with a special attention to Wales. One of the 40.000 Welsh victims was Hedd Wyn, a pseudonym for Ellis Evans. He was awarded posthumously with the Bardic Chair for Welsh language poetry in September 1917. By a twist of fate, the artisticly crafted chair was made by a Belgian refugee, Eugeen Vanfleteren, a furniture maker from Mechelen.
Project Hedd Wyn Centenary Chair
The idea was launched to create once more a Flemish bardic chair, as a token of gratitude and friendship toward the people of Wales, on the occasion of the Hedd Wyn centenary. Design students at the Thomas More University College in Mechelen designed a contemporary chair that is now on display at the Flemish Parliament. Later this year, the chair will be given by the Speaker of the Flemish Parliament to the National Assembly for Wales at an official event commemorating the sacrifices made by Welsh soldiers in Flanders Fields and the hospitality by Welsh families towards Belgian refugees during the First World War.