Unique Places in Belgium

  • Grootseminarie Brugge,Brugge,West Flanders,Belgium
    Grootseminarie Brugge,Brugge,West...
    by Greggor58
  • Quiet Streets and Areas.
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  • Schellemolen windmill near Damme
    Schellemolen windmill near Damme
    by Dabs

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Belgium

  • gwened's Profile Photo

    wonderful library at Louvain

    by gwened Written Jan 22, 2015

    This is an impressive building in a beautiful square at Louvain/Leuven . I was walking around here to give me time to my duties in town, and found some pictures of it.

    From 1425 to 1767 there was an old library here, and only attached to the university in 1636. Then, it became part of the State from 1817 to 1834 and then the Catholic University library from 1835 to our days;It suffered greatly during the WWI period;and burned again during WWII in 1940.

    an unofficial site tells you a lot about it in English
    and the Univ site

    on our way to the Library getting closer to library the library and tower
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    Hotel de Ville de Mons

    by gwened Written May 19, 2014

    another building on some photos from the vault coming over from family near the Belgium border and not far from Mons.
    The hotel de ville is a historic building in Mons.
    It was built in the 15C by 1477 ran out of money and stays undone for years. Frame, long provisional, and thatched cover, are replaced by construction from the 16C, then deeply modified in the 18C. Slate replaces the tile . A wrought iron balcony takes the place of the brattice which it remains the flagship terminal (at the top of the Arch of the entrance gate). The unremarkable Bell or "bancloque" from 1390, transferred from a Maison de la Paix, is hung in the Bell Tower. The lock of the Hotel de Ville, which the original ironwork dating from the 15th century is preserved at the Museum Jean Lescarts, was replaced in the portal by a brass copy
    The side walls of the porch are commemorative plaques of milestones in the war 1914-1918: memorials Irish, Canadian, now; Mons grateful to the United States (sculptor, Mehmood Gustave Jacobs). Plaque due to the sculptor A. Regnier pays tribute to the Belgian pioneers in Congo

    a bit of history and description translated from the city of Mons site
    the cour d'honneur interieur ,under the porch of the façade open two doors and a large Bay to the inner courtyard: this Court, known as formerly "of Barrabas' is surrounded by buildings in the various origins: 15C: rear facade of the building from 1458 with the stair Tower,16C: right wing; the Hall of marriages with rectangular mullioned Windows; 16C and 17C: wings of the background with windows to the same features and coverage of small in the Mons tradition hipped roofs,17Cy: echevinale St George's Chapel, whose City Hall junction is at the level of the States show
    18C: facade of the antechamber of the Office of the Mayor (today show of pageantry) plated late against the first span to chapel Saint-Georges, started in the 15C and never completed.

    You have rooms or salles from the 15C such as Cabinet of Apparat, Former meeting room of the aldermen, the Cabinet of pageantry or Apparat had access to market (Grand-Place) by an opening to the right (on the side of chimney). The Cabinet was dressed in the 19C in neo-Gothic woodwork. The high stone from the castle of Trazegnies fireplace is dominated by a view of Mons . Jewelry Museum collections of the 18C, a wardrobe Louis XV –French, Brussels tapestries (Parties du Monde, 1691-1692), the bust of the Mayor Victor Mack (1870-1962) by R. Gheewala... comprise the bulk of this room interesting furniture..

    Tourelle de l'escalier hélicoïdal or the spiral staircase turret, this staircase remains unfinished and abandoned at the level of the second floor as the entire building which it is work as an appetizer following the medieval tradition.

    Salle des Sacquiaux or the Sacquiaux room, this name recalls that, in the end of each day, when rang the Bell, the six gates of the city were closed. Their keys were then brought in "sacquiaux", leather Awards, then stored in this room, in the presence of an alderman. They were kept under the watchful eye of sentinels, heated by a Brazier burning wood and coal, during the winter. The Wall beside the door giving access to the porch, the foot of Mons (29.5 cm) standard used to municipal control (measures of length, weight and capacity of merchants).

    Gothic lounge or Salle Gothique, the former "Notre Dame room" occupies the entire surface of the Town Hall built in the 15C. Was accessed so exclusively, until early this century, via the staircase turret (still possible access) screws. Ten arch with seats facing windows open all on the side of the Grand-Place, the wall opposite of being blind (an arc gave access to the Chapel, the aldermen attended the offices from the Notre Dame room. It has several wonderful paintings. The chandeliers of the 19C, electrified around 1950, formerly operated gas. They heated and illuminated at a time.

    Salle Parapluie or Room umbrella, It is an extension of the Gothic room, while upstairs of the Golden Fleece (17C), baroque house nearby the Town Hall. This small room owes its name to the false gothic vault stucco to multiple ribs in whale's umbrella, which covered it's 1860 to 1929, date of the restoration.

    Salon des Etats or Estates room, at the other end of the Gothic room it opens also on Saint George's Chapel (1601) are it is the upper part of the narthex, where the aldermen could attend services. Double hinged door opens at height of the vaults of brick to the oratory stone ribs. Its name comes from his assignment. The States of Hainaut has met several times in the 17C and 18C. Restored in 1994, its decoration and furniture are from the 17C (Louis XIV ): fireplace in marble of Rance, painted shortly after 1678 ceiling (names of the aldermen ennobled by Charles II of Spain and the Netherlands on the occasion of the lifting of the blockade imposed by the Marshal of Luxembourg after the battle of Saint-Denis, glorification of the King).

    From the 16C, Salon de Marriages or Wedding room; this former "The ventilation slits room" is located in the wing of the 16C so out of the original building, but retaining the tradition of the buildings of the middle ages. It is characterized by its rectangular windows with seats facing stone; through its chimney to stripped branches in the Burgundian tradition (with the arms of Hainaut, Mons and the Avesnes) and especially by its plaster ceiling dated 1682. Leaving this room by the back door into the paneling on the left of the fireplace, one reaches the Court facing the cellar of the 14C, which the staircase is covered by a rampant vault in sandstone of Bray.

    From the 18C , salle des commissions or Commissions room; On the right, with its double façade, typical to the 18C brick and stone houses, the boards room offers an interesting Interior. Fireplace Louis XIV marble Rance topped by a painted 18C canvas, walls covered with panels of Brussels tapestries or tenieres output Leclercq workshops (1707) and. Castro.

    le Grenier or attic; It opens by a portal basket to tight moldings, top of the stairs in the turret screw. The frame of the 18C with the huge wheel winder of the old clock, the frame which supports the campanile of 1716-1718, the departures of stairs in screws at the four corners, seats facing ten windows provided are worth the climb. The campanile where depends on the "banclocke" of 1390 is accessed by a narrow staircase.

    salon des portraits or Exhibition of Portraits; Located opposite the modern staircase (1900) from the Sacquiaux room, restored in 1994, the Portraits room houses a bust of Alexandre Gendebien (1789-1864) marble due to the sculptor Mehmood Louis Devillez (1855-1941). There are also a few portraits painted by local celebrities: Jacques du Broeucq, Claude J. of Bettignies, Louise de Gontreuil...

    Salon Boisé or Woodland lounge; Located above the wedding room(salon des marriages), it offers sober panelling of the 18C, Louis XVI style. Provides access to the Gothic lounge.

    Saint Georges et le Dragon passent la rampe or Saint George and the Dragon pass the ramp; today recognized in respect of oral and intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO, the Doudou is undoubtedly the event of the year for the Montoises and Mehmood, an exceptional event to many. Yet, paradoxically, there was no visible trace of our Ducasse where takes place the Lumeçon. Because the integration of a work on the facade of a class Town Hall, dating from the 15C is hardly easy. The ramps themselves have been modified to be an integral part of the work. The frame of the entrance door was also renovated. nice ,modern and weird but old as well , uniquely Montoise.

    Hotel de Ville of Mons Grand Place,and hotel de ville on left
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    Beffroi or belfry of Mons

    by gwened Written May 19, 2014

    a symbol of the city and the site of liberty in Belgium.
    it is crown by 49 bells, and the only one built in baroque style in the country, this belltower is 87 meters high on top of Mons itself a high altitude town for Belgium.

    It was Louis Ledoux the architect and managed the work from 1662 to his death in 1667. The work continues from 1667 to 1669 by Vincent Anthony. It helps for the fight against fires, and during WWII where the alarms on bombings were given

    a unique building seen from the field is better.

    from the fields, the Beffroi de Mons from the city side the Beffroi
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    by solopes Updated Jan 1, 2014

    Trazegnies is a name that I never heard until my recent visit to Mons, when, having one free morning to travel from La Louvière to Charleroi airport, I tried to find out what would it be interesting in the way. There, I read about Gosselies and Trazegnies, and decided to see both. Though a small and limited visit, I decided to create my Trazegnies page. You're invited!

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    by solopes Updated Jan 1, 2014

    Gosselies is a name that I never heard until my recent visit to Mons, when, having one free morning to travel from La Louvière to Charleroi airport, I tried to find out what would it be interesting in the way. There, I read about Gosselies, and decided to go. Though a small and limited visit, I decided to create my Gosselies page. You're invited!

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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo


    by lmkluque Updated Sep 17, 2012

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    Diest is a small town east of Brussel in which you will find an old Begijnhoff. The connected Church shows evidence of what looks like war time strife. The small community no longer houses women devoted to God, instead, you'll find the residents to be mostly retired couples.

    There are also commercial establilshments located here. Tucked in a corner space of two buildings there is a charming, romantic restaurant, The "Gasthof" (Guesthouse) of the Beguinage which is also a B&B. I was so impressed with the cozy atmosphere that I plan to go back if I'm ever near Diest again and I will stay at the B&B if it is still in operation!

    Kerkstraat 18,
    B-2390 Diest, Belgium

    Also, there is an interesting shop in this community which is occupied by a man who restores ancient manuscripts. Our primary reason for going here was to see this man and the Begijnoff was a by-product of that search.. We didn't have any type of guided tour to tell us about this well preserved area, so there was very little I learned about the history, except that it was established in 1253 and the houses were built in the 17th century.

    When we arrived at the Manuscript Restoration shop, there was a sign on the door that read, "Gone to Mexico on holiday." I thought that was ironic.

    Phone: 3213336784
    H. Geeststraat 7 | Diest, / 3290, Belgium

    The photo is of the missing stained glass panes in the church windows--which seemed not to have been replaced after WWII. I'm not sure about that, but damage on the walls around the windows, looked as if it came from bullets. So, that's how it seemed to me.

    The Effects of War?
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    by lmkluque Updated May 19, 2012

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    The oldest university of Belgium is in Leuven. Since it's 1435 debut the Catholic University of Leuven has been effected in interesting ways, by history. Most recently, 1968, when it was split in two, the Dutch half, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the French half, Université catholique de Louvain which move to two other locations in Belgium.

    Since this is about Leuven, I'm speaking of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven which is located in the fascinating historical center of Leuven. Near the universtity was the only section of Leuven I was able to experience, but it was well worth a day tip. In this part of town there were many young people and places that young people like to frequent, so it was worth the trip.

    The Hotel de Ville was one of the most fascinating buildings I've ever seen. I don't know how easy it is for you to see in the photo, but on each side of the windows there are full sized statues. It was awesome to see!

    Just around the corner is the Grote Markt which has been in existance as long as the university and the main style of the buildings is Gothic, really a stunning atmosphere to stop for a drink or a meal. Which we did.

    While I was there a large portable ice-skating rink had been set up in the center for a week-end of skating.

    We stopped at the Oude Markt at a little pub, Cafe De Weerelt. We didn't eat, just had my first Belgian bier. It was the Cherry beer I ordered and though it was good, it seemed stronger than regular beer to me. Could be wrong, I'm not a connoisseur, but I did like it.

    A Most Fantastic Building!
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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo


    by lmkluque Updated May 19, 2012

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    Diest is not exactly in the center of things. However, it is not too far from Brussels and a day trip to Diest broadened my view of Belgium, for that reason I suggest it here.

    This is a photo of me standing on one of several steets in the Begijnhoff--.

    Begijnhoff is a word that has been hard for me to understand the meaning of. It doesn't help that depending which area of Belgium I'm in, the word is different. Beguinage—Begijnhof—Beguines—The Beguinage (Begijnhof) I don't know which word is Dutch, French or even English. So, please forgive me and feel free to correct any misusage of these words when you notice them.

    In Diest, outside the town area, is the Begijnhoff--I'm sure of the correct word here as I copied it off the sign at the site.--and Saint Catherine's Church which I had the opportunity to visit, was a humble, red brick structure built in the 14th century. This served the Sisters and in it they had their own private section to worship in seclusion.

    The streets of this community were broader and a bit more extensive than found in other's. Many of the buildings came much later than 1253 when the Sisters established their order and much later than 14 century when the church was built. They were built in the 17th century which gave me the impression that this was a vital community for a long time.

    It is heartening to realize that the people of Diest have cared so much to preserve this ancient aspect of their history.

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    Le plan inclinee de Ronquieres...

    by egonwegh Updated Oct 25, 2011

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    Le plan inclinee de Ronquieres - in Dutch: het Hellend vlak - about halfway along the canal Charleroi -Brussels ; an architectural wonder: a ship canal lift, designed to avoid having to build a series of separate locks. Instead, the ships are transported up and down a ramp in huge containers. In the Belgian province Hainaut (Henegouwen) near the village of Ronquieres. I visited this site a long, long time ago, in 1976, but it made a lasting impression!

    Ronquieres, Le Plan inclinee

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    Crupet and it's Saint Anthony grotto

    by Martinewezel Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    According to the grotto in Lourdes, Europe is spangled with catholic grottos. Fake grottos! Some people even build a grotto in their garden to honour a saint.
    Crupet is one of the most beautiful villages in Wallonia, which is the South of Belgium
    It's grotto, built by the inhabitants in the year 1900 under command of the local priest, is a record breaker in this category.
    Without being disrespectful,let's be clear, it looks very much like a haunted house fairground attraction. From the outside and from the inside. Life sized colorful statues show the priest himself, angel Michael killing the dragon, more angels inside and other life sized people. Behind the corner is Saint Anthony on his deadtbed, flowers and burning candles all around. Stairs take the visitor to the second floor which is the cemetery and there stands the devil with red fingernails! A curiosity not to miss when in the area!

    Besides this grotto, we went for a hike in the surrounding woods. Crupet is only a pocket-sized village in a valley built around a church and an old castle and with lots of picturesque trails. The dungeon (see one of the pictures) is wonderful but can't be visited while lived in.
    Besides a few houses, there are several cosy cafés and restaurants and a B&B house. The grotto is just behind the church, on "catholic ground".

    Several years ago, this spot was still a place of pilgrimage.

    Location (Between Namur and Dinant)

    Crupet Grotto (Belgium) Devil of the grotto of Crupet (Belgium) Dungeon of Crupet (Belgium)
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    Abbey of Maredsous, 20 km west of Dinant

    by Martinewezel Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The abbey is not that old to be a historic curiosity, but it's located in one of the most beautiful valleys called the Molignée.

    As for me, this region is my favorite. This abbey is just one of the items worth a stop.

    The abbey itself can't be visited as the Benedictine monks are set on their privacy, but the church is free. Little warning: the church's floor is always freshly polished. Sneekers or shoes with similar synthetic soles produce a loud squeaking sound.

    We also discovered a little basket in the church, next to a bloc note with virgin paper. "Write here your good intentions and throw them in the basket"... Wondering who's going to read all these notes...???

    There is more... for all beer lovers among you. The abbey gave it's name to the famous Maredsous beer. Beer bottles and glasses, also sausages and Maredsous cheese, religious items and books are for sale in the Abbey visitor's center.

    Hungry? No problem. There is a self-service tourist restaurant and a very cosy patio to take a drink.

    This picture is not really a good one. The sun was not at the right place. Better pictures on the website.

    Abbey of Maredsous (Belgium)
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    by belgianchocolate Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Kalmthout! If you name that village everybody
    in the Flanders parth of Belgium will think
    of two things.
    'de Kalmthoutse heide' and
    'Het arboretum van Kalmthout'

    The first the heath, open uncultivated land
    with few trees , is great for a walk with
    the kids. It has also a visitors center.
    'De vroente' - Putsesteenweg 129 , has
    a parking where you can start your walk.
    Go and have a short look inside ,
    it's about the birds adn the bees.
    Best to reach by car.

    The arboretum is easy to reach by train.
    Take the stop-train from Antwerp to Roosendael.
    Only the 600 species of azalea's are worth
    a visit.
    12 hectares pure pleasure for those who enjoy
    plants. If you need some help translating
    from the website or some help with the
    event calendar - please ask!

    de Heide
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    Belgian Champagne ?

    by Norali Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Not sure but a Belgian's success story, yes !

    I had a champagne that was reported to be Belgian on NY Eve 2002- 2003. I finally remember of the brandname: VRANKEN ... Surprised I was, though when I was told that it was produced in Belgium. To think, there should be some error there.

    There is this Champagne named VRANKEN that belongs to a Belgian businessman, Paul-François Vranken, the very one who bought Pomméry in 2002. Vranken also launched Charles Lafitte champagne in 1983, bought Heidsieck Monopole in 1996.

    AND he is based in Champagne area.. not in Belgium. Only subsidiaries here. When I was told that Vranken was a Belgian brand, that can be true but for sure, it is not produced here. Anyways, Vranken Monopole is now World's # 2 in Champagne production, behind LVMH group. Contact address of the group is in Reims.

    Well, I learn everyday... Champagne cow couldn't talk to me about that... Dunno why. Busy posing, maybe?

    Champagne cow
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    Tour the Abbey!

    by RhondaRuth Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    We took a tour of the Abbey and then went into the Gasthof De Beiaard for a taste of their locally made beer.
    A nice and relaxing afternoon!

    This Abbey used to brew beer and make cheese, but the beer is now brewed by Brewery De Smedt, that is owned by Heineken.

    Rhonda & Bill at the Abbey entrance.
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    by mtncorg Written Jul 4, 2009

    At this park just south of Vaals, the borders of the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium all come together on the hill that is Holland's highest point - the Vaalserberg 232.7 meters/1059 feet high. It is possible to extend yourself being in three countries at the same moment you are standing atop one of them. The Tour Baudoin lets one get a bit higher and overlook the countryside.

    Trois Frontieres with the Tour Baudoin behind Vaalserberg's lofty peak
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