The Belgian Willy Smout has worked for forty years on that plotting table, which captures the moment when, on the 18th of July in 1815, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday, the united forces of the British Prince Wellington and the Prussian marshal Blücher defeated the French troops of Napoleon Bonaparte. Willy Smout started the huge work in 1975 when he was sixteen years old. For the two-hundredth anniversary the Belgians even issued a 2,5 euro commemorative coin, supposedly to annoy the French.
"I have been working on it constantly, when I asked myself the question: until when do I want to finish it? The two-hundredth anniversary seemed to be a perfect goal. In the last few years, I had to work harder to be ready. I could finish it last week", explains the Belgian engineer.
The last battle of Napoleon happened two hundred years ago on the meadow of Waterloo, where the French lost against the united English-Low Countries and Prussian forces. That day, a very long, twenty-three years long wartime period ended, which exhausted France, but also changed Europe as a whole. With the words of the great Victor Hugo: "The big 19th century has started. Waterloo is the turning point of the 19th century. The disappearance of the great man was necessary in order to start the big century."
Now, that he is ready with the big work, he would like the descendants of the prince of Wellington and Napoleon to see it. "I still have a dream. It would be great, if the present prince of Wellington, whose ancestor is here on this diorama, and Prince Jérome Bonaparte, who is the ancestor of the brother of Napoleon, could come here and two hundred years after the battle shook hands with each other. This is what I wish", says Smout.
The fifty-five years old chemical engineer spent approximately thirty-three thousand hours building the plotting table. Furthermore, spent hundred and fifty thousand euros on commemorating the victory of Waterloo, which is also the moment of the downfall of Napoleon, which happened exactly two hundred years ago on the 18th of June. #War