Officially, this splendid Open Air Museum lies on the territory of the city of Genk, in the "Park Midden-Limburg" but it is close enough to Hasselt to consider it one of the major attractions in the region around Limburg's capital.
The domain of Bokrijk is some 550 ha large and consist of woods, gardens, farmland and ponds. The large playground is a real treat for children.
Hasselt is an important commercial centre in Belgium and it is a paradise for shoppers. The shopping streets are pretty and dotted with colourful terraces and stylish shopping arcades.
Hasselt is the Jenever City ýpar exellenceý. The Borrelmanneke and the National Jenever Museum have become the symbols of Belgiumýs Jenever capital.
Hasselt is the city with the biggest Japanese Garden in all Europe : it is the city of Grendslandhallen, Pukkelpop, the Jenever Festival, delicious Hasselt Speculoos and the free city buses.
October - Jenever festival in Hasselt is a celebration of the local jenever and the program of events includes a fastest-running waiter competition, the Borrelmanneke (literally the little schnapps man) and a fun fair.
The unique, natural beauty of Houthalen-Helchteren, with its magnificent forests and moorlands, dunes and meres, has a great deal to offer.
The Japanese garden at Hasselt in Belgium is the result of collaboration between with the city of Itami in Japan. The work was started in 1985 and completed in late 1991. It is therefore a rather modern Japanese garden and the trees have some way to grow. There are a couple of ceremonial teahouses where visitors may take traditional Japanese green tea in a formal demonstration.
Half-way up the hill stands the tea house. Because of the delicate nature of the building and its moss carpet which is still in the process of growing, it is impossible to visit.
Round the tea house is a fully-grown Japanese garden generally of miniature trees.
The name of this ceremony house is "Korokan" which means "a place of rest and shelter for travellers". All the materials used in the building are natural. Natural stone, wood, bamboo, clay and paper.
In the house you can see a "Western-style tea ceremony hall, waiting room (on the pic) and a reception room.
The waterfall has been inspired by the waterfall in the Tenryuji Temple in Kyoto. A distinctive feature is the horizontal and vertical pattern of the rocks used, reinforced by the arrangement of stones in the water on the foreground.
The garden is divided into three areas:
1. A transition area between the Western Kapermolen park and the main authentic Japanese Garden.
2. The main garden with ceremonial house, the tea house, water features and exceptional planting.
3. A park with 250 Japanese cherry trees.
After walking for about 10 to 15 minutes through the Kapermolen Park, you'll reach the largest Japanese Garden in Europe. It mirrors the Japanese landscape and was laid out in 1992 with the help of the city of Itami (the Hasselt partner city in Japan), after the model of the 17th century tea gardens.
A lovely park just outside the inner ring on the northeast of Hasselt. There's an outdoor swimming pool complex, recreation garden and a large pond with ducks. Walk through the park when you're heading for the Japanese Garden.
Platwijers Nature Reserve.
This nature reserve consists of a collection of small lakes that are very shallow. They are loved by waterfowl as a breeding ground, this is of course the reason why it is now protected.
You can see all kinds of water loving birds: duck, geese, egrets, stork and many others.
Bokrijk presents you Limburg the way it used to be. The Open Air Museum has a collection of buildings, that were rebuilt stone by stone, beam by beam in the museum. You can see farmhouses, a blacksmith, windmills, and even an old town square.
During the tourist season, the houses are lived in by 'actors', who are dressed in period costumes. They demonstrate the daily life and work of the original occupants. You can ask them anything, they really live the lives of the original occupants.
But Bokrijk has more to offer, located in the middle of Limburg's green centre, it has a magnificent arboretum, there are tranquil woods and ponds, and a huge playground. During the tourist season, there is always some kind of event to entertain you.
The sun and the wind will dry the laundry !
Can you imaging this - in the modern western world !!
We are spoiled !!!
To move from the pabble beach to the central garden you must cross a slightly arched bridge. Now you've reached the entrance of the ceremony house.
There's a staircase for visitors to go close to the water's edge. In traditional Japanese gardens places such as this are ideal for feeding the Koi or ornamental carp.