Palace of Laeken in Brussels

31 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks Reading Time:  7 minutes

© Chemical Engineer/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Chemical Engineer/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Palace of Laeken or Castle of Laeken is the official residence of the King of the Belgians and the Belgian Royal Family. It lies in the Brussels-Capital Region, 5 km (3 mi) north of the city centre, in Laeken (part of the City of Brussels), and sits in a large private park called the Royal Domain of Laeken. The palace was built between 1782 and 1784 for the Governors of the Habsburg Netherlands, and was originally named the Palace of Schonenberg. It was partly destroyed by fire in 1890, after which it was rebuilt and extended. Significant modifications were undertaken at the beginning of the 20th century during the reign of King Leopold II. Nowadays, it is often referred to as the Royal Palace of Laeken or Royal Castle of Laeken. The Palace of Laeken should not be confused with the Royal Palace of Brussels, in central Brussels, which is the official palace (not residence) of the King of the Belgians and from which state affairs are handled. It is served by Stuyvenbergh metro station on line 6 of the Brussels Metro.   read more…

Atomium in Brussels

25 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

© flickr.com - Christian K./cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Christian K./cc-by-2.0

The Atomium is a landmark building in Brussels, Belgium, originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair (Expo ’58). It is located on the Heysel/Heizel Plateau in Laeken (northern part of the City of Brussels), where the exhibition took place. Nowadays, it is the city’s most popular tourist attraction, and serves as a museum, an art centre and a cultural place.   read more…

Hasselt in Belgium

18 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  7 minutes

© Wout Rietman/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Wout Rietman/cc-by-sa-4.0

Hasselt is a Belgian city and municipality, and capital and largest city of the province of Limburg in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is known for its former branding as “the city of taste”, as well as its local distelleries of Hasselt jenever (gin), the Hasselt Jenever Festivities, Limburgish pie and the Hasselt speculaas. The municipality includes the original city of Hasselt, plus the boroughs of Sint-Lambrechts-Herk, Wimmertingen, Kermt, Spalbeek, Kuringen, Stokrooie, Stevoort and Runkst, as well as the hamlets and parishes of Kiewit, Godsheide and Rapertingen. On 01 July 2022 Hasselt had a total population of 80,260 (39,288 men and 40,972 women). Both the Demer river and the Albert Canal run through the municipality. Hasselt is located in between the Campine region, north of the Demer river, and the Hesbaye region, to the south. On a larger scale, it is also situated in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion.   read more…

Ardennes or Oesling in Belgium, France and Luxembourg

28 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Frahan and the Semois river in Belgium © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-sa-2.5

Frahan and the Semois river in Belgium © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-sa-2.5

The Ardennes, also known as the Ardennes Forest or Forest of Ardennes, is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, extending into Germany and France. Geologically, the range is a western extension of the Eifel; both were raised during the Givetian age of the Devonian (382.7 to 387.7 million years ago), as were several other named ranges of the same greater range. The Ardennes proper stretches well into Germany and France (lending its name to the Ardennes department and the former Champagne-Ardenne region) and geologically into the Eifel (the eastern extension of the Ardennes Forest into Bitburg-Prüm, Germany); most of it is in the southeast of Wallonia, the southern and more rural part of Belgium (away from the coastal plain but encompassing more than half of the country’s total area). The eastern part of the Ardennes forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, also called “Oesling” (Luxembourgish: Éislek). On the southeast the Eifel region continues into the German state of the Rhineland-Palatinate. The trees and rivers of the Ardennes provided the charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world. The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century, after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy.   read more…

Nieuwpoort in West Flanders

24 May 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Nieuwpoort on Yser river © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0

Nieuwpoort on Yser river © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0

Nieuwpoort is a municipality located in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium, and in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Nieuwpoort proper and the towns of Ramskapelle and Sint-Joris. On 1 January 2008 Nieuwpoort had a total population of 11,062. The total area is 31.00 km² which gives a population density of 350 inhabitants per km². In Nieuwpoort, the Yser flows into the North Sea. It is also the home of a statue created by Jan Fabre called Searching for Utopia. The Stadshalle Grain Hall (market hall) with its belfry was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 as part of the Belfries of Belgium and France site, owing to its historical civic (not religious) importance and its architecture.   read more…

Sainte-Adresse in Normandy

2 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

Beach huts © panoramio.com - corinne potet/cc-by-3.0

Beach huts © panoramio.com – corinne potet/cc-by-3.0

Sainte-Adresse is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the region of Normandy, France. A coastal suburb situated some 2 miles (3.2 km) northwest of Le Havre city centre, at the junction of the D147 and the D940. The English Channel forms the western border of the commune.   read more…

Aalst in Flanders

25 February 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  8 minutes

Aalst City Hall © EmDee/cc-by-sa-4.0

Aalst City Hall © EmDee/cc-by-sa-4.0

Aalst is a city and municipality on the Dender River, 31 kilometres (19 mi) northwest from Brussels in the Flemish province of East Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Aalst itself and the villages of Baardegem, Erembodegem, Gijzegem, Herdersem, Hofstade, Meldert, Moorsel and Nieuwerkerken. Aalst is crossed by the Molenbeek-Ter Erpenbeek in Aalst and Hofstade. The town has a long-standing (folkloric) feud with Dendermonde (north along the river), which dates from the Middle Ages.   read more…

Sablon in Brussels

24 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  11 minutes

Rue de Rollebeek © Michel wal/cc-by-sa-3.0

Rue de Rollebeek © Michel wal/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Sablon or Zavel (Dutch) is a neighbourhood and hill in the historic upper town of Brussels in Belgium. At its heart are the twin squares of the larger Grand Sablon (“Large Sablon”) square in the northwest and the smaller Petit Sablon (“Small Sablon”) square and garden in the southeast, divided by the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon. The Sablon neighbourhood was remodelled in the 19th century as Regentschapstraat was driven through the area, creating a Haussmann-style artery between the Royal Palace of Brussels and the new Palace of Justice. The new street skirted the church: all buildings immediately adjacent to it were demolished starting in 1872, opening up new views of the church. Buildings not directly adjacent to the church were renovated and improved.   read more…

Verviers in Wallonia

17 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Le Grand Théâtre © Johan Bakker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Le Grand Théâtre © Johan Bakker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Verviers is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège. The Verviers municipality includes the old communes of Ensival, Lambermont, Petit-Rechain, Stembert, and Heusy. It is also the center of an agglomeration that includes Dison and Pepinster making it the second biggest in the province and an important regional center, located roughly halfway between Liège and the German border. Water has played an important role in the town’s economy, notably in the development first of its textile and later tourist industries. As a result, many fountains have been built in Verviers, leading it to be named Wallonia‘s “Water Capital”. The seats of the two Walloon public institutions for water distribution and water treatment are located in the town.   read more…

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