World

Pontoon bridge opens in Antwerp to remind Belgians of World War I

  • Belgian and Dutch army engineers work on a floating pontoon bridge over the River Scheldt in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Antwerp will open it's World War I Centenary program in Oct. 3, 2014 with the pontoon bridge and allow the general public to cross it. The pontoon bridge is an actual reconstruction of the original that spanned the River Scheldt at the start of the war in 1914 and played a major role in the defense of Antwerp. It was used by the Belgian army under King Albert I as well as the British Expeditionary Force under Winston Churchill. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    Belgian and Dutch army engineers work on a floating pontoon bridge over the River Scheldt in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Antwerp will open it's World War I Centenary program in Oct. 3, 2014 with the pontoon bridge and allow the general public to cross it. The pontoon bridge is an actual reconstruction of the original that spanned the River Scheldt at the start of the war in 1914 and played a major role in the defense of Antwerp. It was used by the Belgian army under King Albert I as well as the British Expeditionary Force under Winston Churchill. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • A young girl watches as Belgian and Dutch army engineers work on a floating pontoon bridge over the River Scheldt in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Antwerp will open it's World War I Centenary program in Oct. 3, 2014 with the pontoon bridge and allow the general public to cross it. The pontoon bridge is an actual reconstruction of the original that spanned the River Scheldt at the start of the war in 1914 and played a major role in the defense of Antwerp. It was used by the Belgian army under King Albert I as well as the British Expeditionary Force under Winston Churchill. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    A young girl watches as Belgian and Dutch army engineers work on a floating pontoon bridge over the River Scheldt in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Antwerp will open it's World War I Centenary program in Oct. 3, 2014 with the pontoon bridge and allow the general public to cross it. The pontoon bridge is an actual reconstruction of the original that spanned the River Scheldt at the start of the war in 1914 and played a major role in the defense of Antwerp. It was used by the Belgian army under King Albert I as well as the British Expeditionary Force under Winston Churchill. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Belgian and Dutch army engineers work on a floating pontoon bridge over the River Scheldt in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Antwerp will open it's World War I Centenary program in Oct. 3, 2014 with the pontoon bridge and allow the general public to cross it. The pontoon bridge is an actual reconstruction of the original that spanned the River Scheldt at the start of the war in 1914 and played a major role in the defense of Antwerp. It was used by the Belgian army under King Albert I as well as the British Expeditionary Force under Winston Churchill. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    Belgian and Dutch army engineers work on a floating pontoon bridge over the River Scheldt in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Antwerp will open it's World War I Centenary program in Oct. 3, 2014 with the pontoon bridge and allow the general public to cross it. The pontoon bridge is an actual reconstruction of the original that spanned the River Scheldt at the start of the war in 1914 and played a major role in the defense of Antwerp. It was used by the Belgian army under King Albert I as well as the British Expeditionary Force under Winston Churchill. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

A pontoon bridge has been rebuilt in Belgium's second largest city to commemorate the important role such a bridge played in World War I by allowing the king and much of the Belgian army to escape the Germans.

The reproduction, the handiwork of engineers from the Belgian and Dutch armies, opened to visitors on Friday, and will remain open through Sunday. It is built on the same spot across the Scheldt river where a pontoon bridge was assembled in 1914 to supply the fortified city of Antwerp and permit its rapid evacuation.

Following a German bombardment and siege, King Albert I and Belgian army units left the burning city and headed south to the Yser river, where they dug in and continued to resist the invaders.