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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Ypres:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Expand : more info on pre-WWI history: this was a major medieval city, so info on its rise and decline would be useful - for a start
  • Verify : needs more inline citations (to qualify for B rating)


Something is wrong in the formatting of the infobox. Something needs to be done to mend it. See template:infobox. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Burda001 (talkcontribs) 16:31, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Ieper vs Ypres[edit]

Suggest move to Ieper on the basis that that is its Flemish language name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by an unknown user prior to the 01 May 2004.

The argument against is that its common usage in English language is Ypres, after British experience with it in WWI. The Belgian army exclusively used French language due to sectarian(?) issues in Belgium at the time and this was passed on. Then again, perhaps it should be moved to "Wipers", as the British knew it. Duncharris 11:42, Apr 12, 2004 (UTC)

What counts is actual usage. The English name for Köln, viz. Cologne, is French and the German name for Nice, viz. Nizza, is Italian. No reason to change that. -- 08:10, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The usage Ypres exists since the 14th century. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales already used Ypres [1] in English and if you look you’ll probably find more use between that time and ours. It wasn't brought to the English speaking world by Commonwealth soldiers of the Great War, although its mispronunciation might have been. --moyogo 00:17, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Just because the town is historically significant under a former name is no reason to leave it stuck with what is now an anachronism. Ieper/Ypres is a Flemish town and the vast majority of its people know it by its Dutch name. We might as well put the article for Slavkov u Brna under Austerlitz and the listing for Volgograd under Stalingrad. Vote to move this to Ieper, the name its people call it today. Jsc1973 (talk) 08:44, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with changing the entry title to Ieper. Some months ago, I made this advocacy at the entry for Yves Leterme, and I was advised to bring that discussion to this article. I see the merit in the comparison to Cologne, Munich, and for that matter to country names (we say Germany and Norway, not Deutschland and Norge). Nevertheless, I present three reasons why this merit is insufficient. First, Cologne is happy with the larger world using the French language substitute, "Cologne", for its real name, Köln. If Cologne, or Germany, were to demand of the international community that it switch over, the international community would comply (just as has happened with the city names Bombay, Calcutta, and Dacca and the country names Ceylon, Central African Republic to Central African Empire and back to Republic, etc.). Secondly, Belgium is a hotbed of ethnic strife, to the degree that the ethnic cleavage has been institutionalized in the country's political structure -- same as in Canada. Each of the ethnic groups has autonomy. In such a situation, the international community should use the town names corresponding to the official political situation. Thirdly, even for Britain, the claims about the entrenchedness of the name "Ypres" are wildly overrated. Ypres does not have "name recognition" even close to that of Rome, Cologne, Munich. Ypres was just one battle in World War I and that was 90 years ago. Since British people rarely have occasion to discuss this city, they are not going to be much put out learning a new name for it. Fourth, various national communities and international communities have adopted name changes in other spheres, specifically ethnic groups. European newspapers and bureaucrats say "Roma and Sinti" for "Gypsies". In America we have replaced "Negro" with "black" and "African American". Hurmata (talk) 05:57, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
If the English language world replaces Ypres with Ieper, we will follow this example. Until then, the town is called Ypres in English, no matter what you or any person in BElgium or elsewhere would prefer. Over the last month, there are 56 (English language) Google News articles about Ypres[2], and only 6 about Ieper[3]. So current usgae is clearly still Ypres in English, just like it is Bruges for Brugge and Antwerp for Antwerpen. By the way, the Britannica also lists it as Ypres[4]. Fram (talk) 10:10, 14 April 2008 (UTC)


Somebody has changed the entry on List of tallest churches from Ypres Cathedral to St. Maartenskerk. Now, I'm not Belgian so I wouldn't presume to argue without further evidence, but when I visited Ypres a couple of years ago all the guidebooks certainly referred to it as a cathedral and it is referred to as a cathedral on many websites. Can anyone enlighten me as to which is correct? -- Necrothesp 19:58, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The main church in Ypres is not a Cathedral. A Cathedral is a Church where the Eucharist is celebrated by the Bischop of a Diocese. Ypres belongs to the Diocese of Bruges and the Cathedral of the diocese is Saint Salvator Cathedral in Bruges. Bigar 21:48, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Ypres was a diocese between 1561 en 1801. So offcially, the St. Maartenskerk is no longer a cathedral, in practise it kept its name. --Foroa 18:05, 5 September 2007 (UTC)


The reference to 'both axis and allied' war graves seems strange to me. Isn't the Axis the German-Italian-Japanese alliance in WW2? I'll change it to 'Central powers', even though I don't think there are any Austro-Hungarian graves there. - FrisoHoltkamp 9:40, 8 Jun 2005 (GMT)

You are correct. The Axis did not exist in World War I. Austria-Hungary, Germany, and (for a while) Italy formed the Triple Alliance. The article uses the term Allies roughly in its World War II usage. This incorrect for the Britsh, French, and Russians, who, in World War I were the Triple Entente. I am having some sign in issues, but if would be helpful if someone could change Allies for Entrente where appropiate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:39, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

"Allies" is a perfectly legitimate term to refer to the non-German side in WW1 and there is no reason to change it. You could use "Entente" for the British and French, but that would not include the Americans who were present in the last year of the War. However, there is a problem with refering to the German side in WW1 as "Axis" because they clearly were not.Eregli bob (talk) 06:54, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Ypres/Iepre salient[edit]

The salient was not just an event that happened, the action of the Belgian resistance who opened the lock gates and so flooded the land creating the fields of mud. This was a major factor in the German advance (hence the bulge in the line).

Near the site of the 3rd battle Passchendeale is Tyne Cot e.g. Also near by is the Canadian memorial 2nd battle 1915 the first use of a Chemical Agent on the field of war.

Lest we forget.

Flying Jelly Attack[edit]

I was drawn to this story by this news report. Even ninety-odd years later they are still digging out corpses. The article says that Ypres is a "city of peace". But it doesn't explain what this means - is it an official title, is it something to do with the EU, or what? Also, the article suggests that the unofficial nickname "Wipers" was perhaps humerous, whereas the footnote denies this. I doubt that either position can be adequately sourced. I believe that the name was originally widely mispronounced, and that the officers etc - who probably spoke French and should have known better - kept this on as a joke. Airport 1975 12:45, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Stad Ieper, the local authority, uses "vredesstad" as the municipality's slogan. It literally means "peace city". The idea is that Ieper, having had the worst war in human history on its doorstep and having been destroyed and rebuilt, is a symbol for something good coming out of something bad; that the city, having seen such destruction and loss of life, represents hope and peace for future generations. It's also some useful spin - if it wasn't a "peace city" then you'd think of it as a "war city", which has some tourist-unfriendly connertations. The town's website is [[5]] and has a section in English.
The pronounciation of Ypres as "Wipers" has always been shown as rank-and-file humour. Nearby Ploegsteert was "Plug Street". Poperinge was "Pop". Wijtschaete was "White Sheet". Hébuterne in France became "About Turn". Bailleul became "Balloo".
What needs to be taken into account is (a) the unpronouncablity of some of the French and almost all of the Flemish names to your ordinary monoglot Tommy, and (b) the British (especially northern English) sense of humour. The officers of course all spoke perfect French (and Latin) having been to Eton and Winchester and other such exclusive public (=private) schools. They would have correctly pronounced the (French) names of the places nearby. The Tommies did not speak French or any other language as a rule. The British sense of humour - always having a grim edge and thus sharpest in a crisis - would have converted the Flemish and French into pronouncable English words. The humour in them would have been implicit. Also, armies love their slang terms and jargon, so these names would have been added. And the officers had no reason to stop the Tommies from using the names - it would have been bad for morale to repremand the men just for not saying a name right. The officers weren't all uncaring deathmongers, just as the Tommies weren't all cheeful chappies happily on their way to a patrotic death.
The names thus became semi-official, appearing on trench maps and on signage. Landmarks got the same treatment, so maps show "Suicide Road" for somewhere with a lot of snipers, "Salvation Corner" for somewhere with no shelling, "Shrapnel Corner" for somewhere with nothing but shelling, "Dirty Bucket Corner" for a place with awful latrines.
It's now politically correct to alledge that the Tommies were mindless drones being sent to their terrible deaths under the threat of execution from far-away grand Colonels with no real life experience. And there's a lot of truth in that idea. But one mustn't allow this to obscure the personalities and sense of humour of the rank and file. They "made the best of a bad job" and did it with not a little humour. That was something quite famous about the British once!
I'll spend some time looking for decent, non-revisionist sources for the joke names, but I'm 100% sure they will be found to be the joke names applied by the rank and file and taken up from there. ➨ ЯΞDVΞRS 13:25, 27 May 2006 (UTC)


Never mind the mispronounciations, how do you pronounce it?

Merriam-Webster gives these two pronunciations: Bgordy 00:14, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

One hates to take issue with Merriam Webster, but my Flemish friends pronounce Ieper as "ee-per" (although they may just be compensating for my awful, awful Flemish). The francophones seem to say Ypres as just "yeep". ➨ ЯΞDVΞRS 13:25, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

In Flemish (dutch) it is indeed pronounced "ee-per" although the "ee" sound doesn't last as long as in English, so just say it very fast. In French it is pronounced something like "ee-prah" --Lamadude 14:33, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Menin gate and NZ soldiers[edit]

I've reverted the edit to Menin gate that excluded NZ soldiers. Their names may be recorded elsewhere, but the Menin Gate is a memorial to all soldiers without known graves, not just those listed there. Regards, Ben Aveling 04:16, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

I've reverted this, since the Commonwealth War Graves Commission itself emphatically states that:
"The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites. The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates those of all all Commonwealth nations (except New Zealand [and Newfoundland]) who died in the Salient, in the case of United Kingdom casualties before 16 August 1917. Those United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war. Other New Zealand casualties are commemorated on memorials at Buttes New British Cemetery and Messines Ridge British Cemetery." [my emphases]
CWGC memorials have a very specific purpose, namely to commemorate those soldiers actually listed on them in lieu of a known grave. The above claim that it is, "a memorial to all soldiers without known graves, not just those listed there," is simply not true, and there is no reference to any such purpose in the Commission's literature about the Menin Gate. Nick Cooper 15:35, 13 November 2006(UTC)


I've removed this duplicated pic, with odd captions: Image:Karl 1 mit papst gelasius gregor1 sacramentar v karl d kahlen.jpg|thumb|left|Ypres 1844]] Image:Karl 1 mit papst gelasius gregor1 sacramentar v karl d kahlen.jpg|thumb|left|The Bomfrey of Ypres 2000]]

Policy discourages galleries. These pics are good though and should be easily incorporated into the main article. I was last in Iper in 1964, must go again sometime. --Triwbe (talk) 19:13, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Name Usage[edit]

Hi, I don't know to much about these things so I'm hoping somone with an interest in this page can help. As a reader, i found that during the article the names Ypres and Ieper were used interchangeable in different parts of the text. I found this confusing as I only know of the town being called Ypres. Is there a concordance or standardisation method for using two names. I kept stalling as I read and had to remember 'oh yeah it is also called *this*. Should one form be used all the time? It just gives continuity to the article, or should it be both and brackets? e.g Ypres(Ieper). Mondegreen de plume (talk) 05:15, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

I noticed this independently and just fixed it. -Oreo Priest talk 14:26, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Schlieffen plan!?[edit]

> Ypres occupied a strategic position during World War I because it stood in the path of Germany's planned sweep across the rest of Belgium and into France from the north (the Schlieffen Plan).

This is a little bit loopy. Moltke had already modified, and then basically scrapped Schlieffen's plan in the face of events. The main German thrust into France had already been checked much further south at the Marne, and the opening engagement at Ypres as it actually happened was near the end-point of the "Race to the Sea." This is probably much more relevant than the (arguably misleading) talk about Schlieffen. (talk) 10:46, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Source needed re Ypres vs Ieper in WW I[edit]

The lede states "Though Ieper is the Dutch and only official name, the city's French name, Ypres, is most commonly used in English due to its role in World War I when only French was in official use in Belgian documents, including on maps."

I've added a cn template there, because the name has been an issue and the linked article provides no specific support for that linked statement (and specifically no mention of maps) and this section appears to contradict that statement. An earlier comment on this talk page by user Duncharris, a no-longer-active Wikipedian, says that it was specifically the Belgian army that used French exclusively, which sounds plausible, but still should be sourced.

Although I could re-write that sentence in the lede to refer generally to the historic supremacy of French, it would be preferable to focus specifically on the contemporary situation during WW I, if someone has a source on this.

Thanks. --Rich Janis (talk) 08:22, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

It would be good to get a source for that second half of the statement, and I can't vouch for its accuracy. (Note that there can be no doubt that 'Ypres' is more commonly used in English due to WWI.) On the other hand, you're reading too much into the 1898 law. It merely made Dutch official, but would have done little to change the dominant use of French within all levels of government, including the military. Oreo Priest talk 11:25, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Yes, French was the official language of Belgium then (the only language for higher education, the only language for politics, ...), and the army used it almost exclusively, including for its maps (except in the bottom ranks, where Dutch would be spoken, but those didn't make maps). But while that all sounds very plausible, that discussion doesn't belong in the first paragraph IMO. A note to say there are two names possible in English (with one dominant pick) is enough. --Sanderd17 (talk) 18:03, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Memory and the RS[edit]

In the Centennial of World War I, the memory of the war has become a major theme for scholars. See David Reynolds, The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century (2014). Heather Jones "Goodbye to all that?: Memory and meaning in the commemoration of the first world war." Juncture (2014) 20#4 pp: 287–291. One of the major centers for wartime memories of British veterans was Ypres, where 300,000 British & Brit Empire men died. What it meant to vetsat the time is a significant factor in the history of the memory of WWI, and in the history of Ypres, according to the scholars. Is it encyclopedic? yes says one of the leading encyclopedia editors Spencer Tucker. see >Spencer C. Tucker (2014). World War I: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. p. 1072. . I cannot understand why Monochrome Monitor objects so much to the coverage of this development. He somehow says it is not "neutral". The Wikipedia NPOV rules say that neutrality is regarding the RS-- if there is an alternative viewpoint it has to be included. Monochrome Monitor has not cited any RS to support his rejection of studies of memory & memorials. I suggest he read Mark Connelly, "The Ypres League and the Commemoration of the Ypres Salient, 1914-1940," War in History (2009) 16#1 pp 51-76, before just erasing it. Rjensen (talk) 13:03, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

second largest or third?[edit]

§ Origins to First World War says:

As the second largest city in the County of Flanders (after Ghent and Bruges) Ypres played an important role in the history of the textile industry.

If it was ranked after Ghent and Bruges in size, it was the third largest city, not the second. This needs a fix. Fixed, footnote added. "In medieval times it was the third largest city in the County of Flanders after Gent and Bruges." See ref "History of Ypres".

Thnidu (talk) 16:51, 21 August 2016 (UTC)