In 1976, Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Bidlot decided to establish a museum in the barracks of 1st Belgian Parachute Battalion.
1st Sergeant Major Demuynck , his aid Corporal Bonne and the conscript of the battalions “social and cultural education service” were given this challenging task.
Without much help from the rest of the battalion, it took many months before the museum opened its doors in a corner of the courtyard. It soon became the place where retired classes of conscripts could meet each other during reunions and memories.
The success grew and in 1987 the museum expanded to three rooms to allow for the exhibition of more recent activities of the unit.
In 1991 as a result of new fire arms legislations in Belgium the Staff of the Army issued new guidelines regarding the presence of foreign weapons in military quarters.
Museums on battalion echelon were no longer allowed and certainly not with weapons. From one day to the next, the battalion commander was illegally keeping weapons in his quarters which could be confiscated at any time. The museum should disappear.
This of course was not to the wishes of the thousands of demobilised and retired Para’s for whom the museum was an excellent contact point with the unit. Under the leadership of Mr. Dumont , retired RSM, former officers, non-commissioned officers and professional volunteers gathered with representatives of the battalion.
A way out out that would secure the future of the museum was found by creating a non-profit association. The administrative road was very long; Articles of association had to be drawn up, licences for collecting weapons had to be obtained, concessions and insurances had to be acquired and finally funds had to be found to be able to start.
November 9, 1995, the new non-profit organization officially started. Under the chairmanship of Mr Dumont, the driving force of the association, the re-establishment of the museum was started.
In its “articles of association”, the association aims to:
The history of the Paratroopers is portrayed in four rooms and a few small casemates. Since 2021 the museum has a fixed opening time every first Sunday of the month from 1.00 PM till 5.00 PM. Visits on appointment by groups of the museum and the citadel as a fortress are also possible (see wensite); the visits are free.
Today the association has its own website to better inform the ex-paras and the general public and to provide more information for the organization of visits.