You get there in a train ride of an hour and a half through countryside all of which looks like the view from the train to Ely from Cambridge - prosperous farming land with a line of houses always visible - except for the occasional war graves.
The memorial to the dead soldiers of the First World War from Ypres would be slightly ostentatious except in a very posh English country churchyard - Belgium was neutral, and the civilians fled fairly early.
The memorial to the soldiers killed at Ypres is the Menin Gate (set into the medieval walls; I was rather expecting it to stand alone like Marble Arch or the Arc de Triomphe) at a completely different scale. Columns of names carved about an inch high cover the whole building - yes, including the outside, including the stairwells; fifty-four thousand names, about the same as the Vietnam memorial in DC, for just the unrecovered bodies from a single short front.
The First World War hasn't quite receded into history, but you can sense it heading there - the museum felt nearer to the museum at Culloden than it did to Auschwitz, 'war is hell' rather than 'the grandparents of some of those visiting were killed here' - though there were hundreds of people watching the Last Post on a random Tuesday evening in August.