The rebuilt* tower is 84 metres high, and is the highest peace monument in Europe.
How did they stop the advance?
A ship’s master, Hendrik Geeraert opened the sea locks and masses of water flowed inland toward the low-lying plains. This paralysed further German movement. However, the Germans managed to hold on to a few isolated ’islands’ on the west bank of the river until 1918. In the open plains, the situation was always dangerous, though. The front stabilised on the IJzer and later on the River Marne in France. But both sides dug in and four years of dreadful trench warfare began.
But many Flemish sympathised with the Germans - the language was easier to understand than French, and this resulted in a split between Flemish families still supporting the Belgian stage and Flemish families who collaborated with the Germans.
In March 1946, the first *IJzertoren was blown up. The perpetrators were never caught, but there are theories of the Belgian state approving the demolition, or even helping the saboteurs.
On the same site a new, larger tower was built several years later. With the remains of the old tower, the Pax gate (Gate of Peace).
Today, the tower is a symbol to remember the cruelties that happen during wars, thus it is a symbol of peace.