Discover the role of the Lords of the Dunes of Koksijde in the Order of Citeaux, a European project before the letter.It's not a dull or dusty affair but a unique archaeological site and a modern museum that tells the story of the silent stones vividly.
The religious Maldague silver collection has a permanent home at the Abbey Museum.
What does Nieuwpoort have in common with Namur, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Kortrijk and Bruges? In all of these cities you can find a statue of Albert I, the Soldier King. These bronze riders mark the way the German army invaded Belgium in 1914, up until Nieuwpoort where they came to a grinding halt. This was achieved through the power of seawater and the smart coordination of the sluices and locks.
But water wasn’t only an ally, it condemned Nieuwpoort to a crueller fate, the complete destruction of the city as first city at the front. A hundred years later the monument to King Albert I is a serene place in a beautiful landscape, surrounded by water. The ideal place to tell the story of the inundation. This happens in the hypermodern visitor centre ‘Westfront Nieuwpoort’ right under the 2500m² terrace of the monument, with a polyvalent inner circle and 3 exposition wings.
The Doornpanne, together with De Hoge Blekker and De Schipgatduinen, forms a 240-hectare dune massif. The area comprises various types of dune, from drift dunes and dune grasslands to densely grown pans and fixed inner dunes. A belt of drifting dunes is situated around it, including the highest dune top on the Flemish coast (Hoge Blekker 33 m). The Doornpanne has been a protected landscape since 1975 and was therefore included in the list of nature areas with European protection
The central walking and cycling path connects the Witte Burg with the Hoge Blekker. Part of this path is part of the signposted Kustfietsroute and was laid out in shell clay. Following on from this path, the IWVA constructed a hiking trail in chopping wood, to allow the southeastern part of the nature reserve to be explored. A nature trail (3 km) was also laid out along which the walker is invited to appeal to all the senses and in this way discover the Doornpanne. There is also the Doornpannewandelpad (8 km) from the province of West Flanders.
Do not fear. To truly understand the master, you must visit his house at least once. The displaying cupboards full of crazy, bizarre, bewildering objects will bring you into the atmosphere of his work, breathing in the air on the piano nobile will do the rest. The Ensor House is closed since November 15th, 2017. Reopening will be after finishing the constructions of the Ensor visitor centre. Keep an eye on the website for more information! The interactive experience centre will offer extensive information about Ensor the artist and the world he lived in. Each of the five experience rooms highlights a specific theme, including Ensor’s studio, the masks, Ensor and Ostend, Death and finally, Society and criticism. The experience centre will also host temporary exhibitions with unique engravings and prints by James Ensor. The perfect place, in other words, to immerse yourself in the artist’s world and work and learn more about this complex and fascinating figure.
April 3rd 1995 - On this day the Amandine entered Oostende harbour for the last time. On this day it dropped anchor for the very last time. The crew disembarked, swallowed hard and went home without looking back. The last page in Oostende's book on Iceland Fishing had been turned. Now, 13 years later, the Amandine has started her second career, a career as an interactive museum. It has taken two years of hard and concentrated work in the old shipyard 'Seghers' to restore the ship to its former glory. But today is the day. Today you can see the ship at the renovated Visserskaai in the heart of Oostende.
The 'Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde' with its white-coloured house fronts and tranquil convent garden was founded in 1245. This little piece of world heritage was once the home of the beguines, emancipated lay-women who nevertheless led a pious and celibate life. Today the beguinage is inhabited by nuns of the Order of St. Benedict and several Bruges women who have decided to remain unmarried. In the Beguine's house, you can still get a good idea of what day-to-day life was like in the 17th century.
The 115.5 metres high brick tower of the Church of Our Lady is a perfect illustration of the craftsmanship of Bruges’ artisans. The church displays a valuable art collection: Michelangelo’s world-famous Madonna and Child, countless paintings, 13th-century painted sepulchres and the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold. Useful to know: at the moment, large-scale renovation works are still being carried out, so the church is only partially accessible and many works of art cannot be viewed. The choir was renovated in 2015 and the remarkable church interior can now once again be admired in all its splendour.
A visit to Bruges isn’t complete without a boat trip on its canals. Go aboard at any of the five landing stages for a half-hour trip that allows you to appreciate the most noteworthy delights of the city from a completely different angle. March to mid-November: daily 10.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m. (last departure at 5.30 p.m.).
Markt is the heart of the city and surrounded by many historical highlights. It is filled with pedestrians and bicyclists and a perfect place to get some rest or food in a local restaurant.
Markt is dominated by its Belfry, for centuries the city’s foremost edifice and the perfect look-out in case of war, fire or any other calamity. You can still climb to the top of the tower! The statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck graces the middle of the square. These two popular heroes of Bruges resisted French oppression and consequently played an important part during the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. Their statue neatly looks out onto the Gothic revival style Provincial Palace. Until the 18th century this used to be the extremely busy Waterhalle, a covered warehouse where goods were loaded and unloaded along the canals that ran alongside the square. Today the canals are still there, albeit underground.
The most important of Bruges’ towers stands 83 metres tall. It houses, amongst other things, a carillon with 47 melodious bells. In the reception area, waiting visitors can discover all kinds of interesting information about the history and working of this unique world-heritage protected belfry. Those who take on the challenge of climbing the tower can pause for a breather on the way up in the old treasury, where the city’s charters, seal and public funds were kept during the Middle Ages, and also at the level of the impressive clock or in the carillonneur chamber. Finally, after a tiring 366 steps, your efforts will be rewarded with a breath-taking and unforgettable panoramic view of Bruges and her surroundings.
The Groeninge Museum offers a varied overview of the history of Belgian plastic arts. Although the Flemish Primitives are a high point, you will also marvel at top 18th and 19th-century neoclassical pieces, masterpieces from Flemish Expressionism and post-war modern art.
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is a Roman Catholic basilica in Bruges. The church houses a venerated relic of the Holy Blood allegedly collected by Joseph of Arimathea and brought from the Holy Land by Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders.
The double church, dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Basil in the 12th century and a basilica since 1923, consists of a lower church that has maintained its Romanesque character and a neo-Gothic upper church, in which the relic of the Holy Blood is preserved. The treasury, with numerous valuable works of art, is also worth a visit.
The half-hour carriage ride along Bruges’ historic winding streets trots off on Markt (at Burg on Wednesday morning). Halfway through the ride the carriage briefly stops at the Beguinage. The coachman gives expert commentary en route.
One of the best thing you can do in Bruges is to take a beautiful short walk along the ramparts with its windmills. It is nearby the city center, so after discovering shopping places, beers and coffees, this is a great opportunity to escape from the busy city life for a moment.
Belgium has a rich mill history. If you check a map of Bruges from the 16th century, you can see there were no less than 23 windmills here! They were part of the town walls since the end of 13th century. Nowadays, there are four remaining mills between the Dampoort and the Kruispoort: Koeleweimill, Nieuwe Papegaai, Sint-Janshuismill and Bonne Chiere.
The For Freedom Museum shows the bleak times of the Second World War in a dazzling, realistic way. No single inhabitant of the Zwin region and western Zeeland Flanders was spared hardship and repression between 1940 and 1944. This black period in our history forms the main theme of the museum.
True-to-life dioramas (goggle-boxes) immerse you in the regional history from 10 May 1940 to 3 November 1944, the day that the thundering guns finally grew silent in the Zwin region.
The museum houses three impressive collections. Patrick Tierssoone and Freddy Jones, two old school friends with a passion for history, make available their unique collections of original vehicles and uniforms. The Belgian Aviation History Association (Bahaat), a recognised association of aviation archaeologists, is the third partner with an imposing exhibition of excavated aircraft remains.
Discover in the visitors centre the fascinating and tumultuous history of 2000 years Zwin region: the reclamation of the polders, the unique scale model of the port town of Sluis arround 1400, wars in the region, the emergence of the villages of Duinbergen and Het Zoute, the development of tourism.
Children love Fonske and his wonderful stories. Fonske is the son of a fisherman and lives in the museum. He’s really good at telling visitors about life on board a fishing vessel or how to catch shrimp. A visit to Fonske’s attic is highly recommended. Make a fort with puzzle pieces or dive into his dress up trunk and step out as a bold pirate.
In the old school building (1899) you can immerse yourself in the hard life of the fishermen and their families. Taste the particular people's culture. Take a seat on the school desks.
Knokke Casino is a seafront casino in the town of Knokke, in the administrative community Knokke-Heist, in the province of West Flanders in Flanders, Belgium.
Enjoy spending time a room with slot machines you will find a wide selection of traditional roll machines and contemporary video machines. With blackjack you play against the dealer and the aim is to achieve a score as close as possible to 21. With roulette it is about predicting the winning number. The number where the bullet falls after turning the cylinder wins.
Also Napoleon Games Grand Casino has several rooms and is therefore extremely suitable for company, dance and wedding parties, anniversaries and seminars.
The Zwin: a unique combination of a visitor park and a nature reserve, originally founded by Count Léon Lippens. There is a constant coming and going of birds in the Zwin Nature Park; in spring many return from their wintering area in the deep south to land at their brooding areas in the north; in autumn they set out on their journey in the opposite direction.
Numerous species of birds follow coastlines and use estuaries and other nature areas to rest for a while or to find food. You can compare it with aircraft that must make as stop during a long-haul flight to refuel at an airport. For very many migratory birds that follow the coastline, the Zwin is an important layover point on their long journey. The Zwin area is an airport, but one reserved exclusively for birds, the 'International Airport for Birds'!
The Zwin also famous with its rare landscape: a natural transition from one biotope to another is visible here, from beach to dunes on the one hand and from beach to mudflats and salt marshes on the other. Mudflats are flooded by the sea twice a day, at high tide, and feature no or hardly any vegetation. The salt marshes on the other hand feature a rich flora which has adapted to its surroundings. Salty mudflats and salt marshes are rare along the coasts and river mouths of Western Europe and they are under European protection.
The Zwin Nature Park is an interactive nature experience park for the entire family.
Discover the different elements! Check in at the entrance to the exhibition with your boarding card and ... fly alongside your Zwin migratory bird. Besides experiencing an exciting journey full of adventure and surprise, you will learn a great deal about the fascinating world of birds. Among other things you will find out how they fly accurately and how they prepare for their long migratory journey. And why every year thousands of birds land in the Zwin, plus lots more besides.
You will never get closer to nature as you will do in the Zwin Nature Park. The park’s cabin trail will guide you through numerous exciting points or huts: A feeding hut from where you can admire the birds from a very short distance or the story hut, where our birds are ringed and several presentations are given. Fly alongside your Zwin migratory bird. Besides experiencing an exciting journey full of adventure and surprise, you will learn a great deal about the fascinating world of birds.
Aslo be sure to make time go up to panorama tower. From here you have a wonderful vantage point to embrace the beauty of the Zwin Plain, the Zwin dunes and polders and even the sea!
City Hall, a Flemish and Neo-Renaissance style construction, is symbolic of the union between the cities of Saint-Pierre and Calais.Its belfry, which culminates at 75 meters, offers an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the city. It is also part of the group of Belfries of Belgium, Northern France and Picardie, listed as UNESCO World Heritage ;
La Coupole, located 5 km from Saint-Omer (Nord-Pas-de-Calais), is one of the most impressive remnants of the Second World War in Europe. It is a symbolic place of the Nazi oppression, due to its overwhelming mass, the nature of its underground facilities and the suffering of the slave labourers who built it.
The Lillois' favourite meeting place offers an interesting view of the architecture from the 17th to the 20th century. Standing in the centre of the squares stands the Goddess commemorates Lille's resistance to the Austrian siege in 1792
Begun in 1453 by Philippe Le Bon, Duke of Burgundy, it is one of the rare reminders of the flamboyant gothic style in Lille. On the ground floor, the Salle des Gardes (Guards room) houses the tourist office.
Due to the size of its permanent collections, the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Lille is considered to be the second largest general-interest museum in France, just after the Louvre. The building, completed between 1885 and 1892, is typical of the monumental architecture of the late 19th century.
The oldest mental asylum in Belgium, which dates back to 1857 is in Jozef Guislainstraat. Today it houses an absolutely fascinating museum.
It was the visionary Dr Guislain who was one of the first to think of mentally ill people as patients with a right to humane treatment. The shame that was felt at the way psychiatric patients had been treated in the past was the impetus for founding the Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent in 1986.
Dr Guislain Museum in Ghent aims to break down the many prejudices that still define what is ‘mentally ill’ and what is ‘normal’. Discover the permanent collection and find out about the history of psychiatry, as well as an international collection of outsider art or art brut. The temporary exhibitions are always great too.
The STAM is the ideal place to start your cultural holiday in Ghent, an unmistakeably contemporary building against a historic backdrop. Ghent is a city of every era, and the same applies to the modern Ghent City Museum: the 14th-century abbey, 17th-century convent and new 21st-century building all form part of the STAM.
The STAM tells the story of Ghent from the Middle Ages to the present day, with imaginative collections and interactive multimedia. The past, present and future of the city are presented in a clear and interesting way: from mediaeval metropolis to city of knowledge and culture.
The eye-catcher at Ghent City Museum, the STAM, is a gigantic aerial photograph of Ghent (measuring 300 m2!) that you are allowed to walk all over. Use the multimedia app to see Ghent in detail in four different centuries. ‘Views of Ghent’ shows a view of the city in 1534, maps from 1641 and 1912 and a contemporary aerial photograph.
Ghent’s ‘arts quarter’ is not only home to impressive historic buildings, but also to quiet green spaces, parks and gardens where you can fully recharge your batteries.
Wild about design? Be sure to visit the Design Museum Gent. A modern, open building lurks behind a magnificent 18th-century façade.
This impressive city residence in Rococo style was bought by the City of Ghent in 1922 and used it to house the Design Museum. The temporary exhibitions complement the magnificent permanent collection, from art nouveau to trends in contemporary design.
Even if you don’t need to go, the toilet enclosure at the museum is well worth a visit. The bathroom wing was built in defiance after Design Museum Gent kept being refused the funds for expansion by Ghent City Council. When it did get a permit for a huge monumental work of art, a huge toilet roll with toilets hidden inside it, a message was added with a double meaning: ‘de pot op’. Literally it means “go to the loo” but what the expression really means colloquially is “go to hell”, giving the figurative finger to Ghent City Council.
A weekend trip to Ghent is simply not complete without a visit to the mysterious ‘Castle of the Counts’. This important sight in Ghent is a castle with a very turbulent past, closely intertwined with the complex—often stormy—political and social history of the city. It is the only remaining mediaeval castle with a moat and largely intact defence system in Flanders. Your visit to the Castle of the Counts will give you a complete picture of heraldic culture in the 12th century. The gatehouse, ramparts, keep, count’s residence and stables are open to visitors.
The Castle of the Counts boasts a unique collection of torture equipment. What used to be the pantry now features the torture equipment, which is displayed in a suggestive executioner's cabinet. The former courtroom features the collection of judicial objects. The Castle of the Counts also hosts all kinds of cultural activities, events and activities, for example during the Ghent Festivities. It is also a popular place to get married for Ghent’s locals.
Let’s not forget the time the Castle of the Counts was occupied by protesting students in 1949! Explore the castle during your weekend trip in Ghent and find out all about the ‘Battle of the Castle of the Counts’.
The House of Alijn museum in Ghent puts the ordinary daily life of 20th-century people in the spotlight. This was once the ‘Children of Alijn hospice’. It is the only almshouse—a charitable institution where the old and sick were cared for—to have been preserved in Ghent.
Traditions and rituals belong to the past and present. Daily routines and special events determine the rhythm of your life. During your weekend trip to Ghent, enjoy the customs, traditions and rituals at the House of Alijn museum that recall a recent or more distant past.
Go ‘Back to the future’: rediscover your very first baby photos, marbles in the playground, your first love, the excitement of the summer holidays... The way we approach ‘occasions and emotions’ changes over time: it is both personal and universal. Find out that everyday life is anything but ordinary.
Enjoy these collective memories in the lovely courtyard garden and a typical working-class pub. We recommend it!
This church in Tournai bluestone is one of the most beautiful examples of the Scheldt Gothic style.
One of its unique elements is that the tower is not above the entrance but above the crossing of the nave and transepts. It functions as a sort of natural lantern as the light shines into the transept from the tower.
Lovers of contemporary art absolutely can’t afford to miss a visit to the S.M.A.K. during their weekend in Ghent. The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, or S.M.A.K. for short (in Dutch), was founded in 1999 and is located opposite the MSK in a former casino building.
The city of Ghent is known for its rebelliousness, and its contemporary art museum is every bit as dynamic and unconventional as Ghent itself. The collection is considered to be the most important collection of contemporary art in Flanders, with world-famous works of art from Belgium and abroad. Every four months, the museum exhibits a selection of these works in alternation with original, often daring exhibitions. Recover at leisure from the assault on your senses in the museum café.
Under the inspiring leadership of the controversial curator and ‘art pope’ Jan Hoet, the former ‘contemporary art wing’ of the MSK was given its own museum, the S.M.A.K. The permanent collection at this museum for contemporary art includes top Belgian and international works of art by Cobra, pop art, minimal art, conceptual art and arte povera artists, who are now among the most famous artists in the world.
Look up at the magical city skyline for a moment during your weekend trip in Ghent: you can’t miss it. The Belfry is the middle tower in the famous row of three, between St Bavo’s Cathedral and St Nicholas’ Church. A fiery dragon, the proud symbol and mascot of Ghent, guards the historic heart of the city.
The Ghent Belfry symbolises the city’s prosperity and independence. The Cloth Hall, built onto the Belfry, was completed in 1907. The flamboyant Brabant Gothic style of the Cloth Hall is an ode to the industry to which Ghent owes so much. On the corner of the Cloth Hall is an old jailer’s house. Every Sunday morning you can hear the carillonneur at work between 11 am and 12 noon. And you can enjoy a carillon concert on the first Friday of each month from 8 to 9 pm. In the summer months, the concert takes place every Saturday night!
The over 10,000 different varieties of plants in the tropical and subtropical greenhouses of the University's Botanical Garden are both flourishing and fascinating.
The unique collection of Mediterranean plants alone is well worth a visit.
Guided visits can be arranged.
The strength of the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) in Ghent, one of the oldest museums in Belgium, lies in the varied nature of its collection, which is nothing short of remarkable. Never before have old masters and modernists hung side-by-side so perfectly as in this iconic museum building.
At the end of the 18th century, Ghent was under French rule and many of the city’s art treasures were seized. Some of them can still be seen in the Louvre in Paris today. Rebellious Ghent wasn’t having any of it and slowly began to establish a wide-ranging art collection, searching for years to find an appropriate building. The ideal location was found in the building designed by the architect Van Rysselberghe in the Citadelpark, a museum with a fantastic feeling of spaciousness and a lot of light.
The collection, which ranges from Hieronymus Bosch to Rubens and Magritte, has never been shown more attractively than it is today. It covers an enormous variety of paintings, statues, drawings, etchings and tapestries, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. An auditorium, a library, a children’s workshop and a brasserie turn the MSK into a contemporary, multipurpose complex where you can spend many a pleasant hour surrounded by beauty during your weekend trip to Ghent. Why not take a virtual peek inside the MSK now?
The Grand Place of Tournai, a place of relaxation in a prestigious setting. Taste the conviviality of a Grand-Place animated by the terraces of numerous cafes and restaurants.
From the rue Saint-Martin, the rue des Maux or the Place de l'Eveche, join one of the most beautiful and authentic Grand Place in the country! Triangular in shape, it is the perfect place to enjoy one of our typical dishes or one of our local beers.
On sunny days, it's a whole neighborhood that comes alive, rocked by the sound of water jets and child players. The terraces fill up, the little sweet pleasures are tasted, the chime sounds for the delight of music lovers. Place of exchange, market and events, the Grand Place radiates throughout the City of 5 Clochers!