Military memorials and cemeteries in Mont Saint-Jean

Lion's Mound

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The Lion's Mound (French: Butte du Lion, lit. "Lion's Hillock/Knoll"; Dutch: Leeuw van Waterloo, lit. "Lion of Waterloo") is a large conical artificial hill located in the municipality of Braine-l'Alleud (Dutch: Eigenbrakel), Belgium. King William I of the Netherlands ordered its construction in 1820, and it was completed in 1826. It commemorates the location on the battlefield of Waterloo where a musket ball hit the shoulder of William II of the Netherlands (the Prince of Orange) and knocked him from his horse during the battle. It is also a memorial of the Battle of Quatre Bras, which had been fought two days earlier, on 16 June 1815.

The hill offers a vista of the battlefield, and is the anchor point of the associated museums and taverns in the surrounding Lion's Hamlet (French: le Hameau du Lion; Dutch: Gehucht met de Leeuw). Visitors who pay a fee may climb up the Mound's 225 steps, which lead to the statue and its surrounding overlook (where there are maps documenting the battle, along with observation telescopes); the same fee also grants admission to see the painting Waterloo Panorama.


At the behest of William I, the Royal Architect Charles Vander Straeten designed the monument. The engineer Jean-Baptiste Vifquain conceived of it as a symbol of the Allied victory rather than as glorifying any sole individual.


Earth from many parts of the battlefield, including the fields between La Haye Sainte farm and the Duke of Wellington's sunken lane, is in the huge man-made hill.

The mount is 43 m (141 ft) in height and has a circumference of 520 m (1706 ft). Its volume is greater than 390,000 m3 (514,000 yd3), which far exceeds the frequent claim of 300,000 m3, which had assumed the mount to be conical. By calculation, 1/3πr2h where r= 520/π = 165/2 = 82.76m and h = 43m ∴ Volume of Hill = 308,412m3, less the volume of a cone of earth to allow for the Lion Statue to be mounted would come close to the original estimate.

Victor Hugo, in his novel Les Miserables, wrote that the Duke of Wellington visited the site two years after the Mound's completion and said, "They have altered my field of battle!" The alleged remark by Wellington as described by Hugo was never documented, however.


A statue of a lion standing upon a stone-block pedestal surmounts the hill. Jean-Louis Van Geel (1787–1852) sculpted the model lion, which closely resembles the 16th-century Medici lions. The lion is the heraldic beast on the personal coat of arms of the monarch of The Netherlands, and symbolizes courage.

Its right front paw is upon a sphere, signifying global victory. The statue weighs 28 tonnes (31 tons), has a height of 4.45 m (14.6 ft) and a length of 4.5 m (14.8 ft). William Cockerill's iron foundry in Liège cast the lion, in sections; a canal barge brought those pieces to Brussels; from there, heavy horse-drays drew the parts to Mont-St-Jean, a low ridge south of Waterloo.

There is a legend that the foundry melted down brass from cannons that the French had left on the battlefield, in order to cast the metal lion. In reality, the foundry made nine separate partial casts in iron and assembled those components into one statue at the monument site.

See also

  • Waterloo, Belgium
  • Battle of Waterloo

External links

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4sq SUs Belgium
30 June 2016
Climb the 226 steps leading to the lion on top of the 43m artificial hill for a view overlooking the Waterloo battlefield. The lion symbolizes victory and the hope of peace for Europe.
Nacho Maans
25 August 2015
The new museum/memorial is interesting and entertaining. A big improvement on the old panorama and dusty museum
VIviane Côté
20 March 2018
The 4d movie makes you feels part of the battle. Great museum and panorama as well.
✨Isabelle V. R. ✨
17 July 2013
Watch the two movies before you climb the stairs to the lion statue. Nice overview on top.
Peter De Rop
22 February 2012
Lovely place. Shame the people in the vicinity have a café and don't seem to like their job very much.
Gregory Lehmann
23 April 2013
Pleins de bonnes bières au fut... Comme la Chouffe, la Liefmans ou encore la De Koninck! Bonne dégustation!
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Chemin des Vertes Bornes 90, 1420 Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium

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Open hours
Fri 8:00 AM–7:00 PM
Sat 10:00 AM–8:00 PM
Sun 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
Mon 8:00 AM–7:00 PM
Tue 7:00 AM–7:00 PM
Wed 8:00 AM–7:00 PM

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