You can read diaries, follow your troop movements, and empathise with the inhabitants of the monastery and the village during the Great War during your visit to the ‘14–‘18 Experience Centre. This fascinating exhibition has been expanded with stories from current affairs. Discover the portraits and stories of war refugees.
It will definitely be worth your while...
The moated castle of Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the late 15th century. Over the course of the centuries, this moated castle has had a very eventful history. Visitors experience at first hand what it must have felt like to live in a heavily fortified castle in medieval times.
In 1999, the municipality of Beersel acquired the castle on lease from a national heritage foundation, the Koninklijke Vereniging der Historische Woonsteden van België (Royal Association of Historic Cities and Gardens in Belgium). The municipality aims to carry out repairs, renovations and upgrades to the castle. Since 2003 the castle has been undergoing a series of restoration campaigns.
Discover, taste and learn all the secrets of lambic beers from the Senne valley and the Pajottenland!
Visitor Centre ‘De Lambiek’ in Alsemberg is the ideal starting point for an instructive discovery tour along the breweries and blenderies in our region. Come in to sample the spontaneously fermented lambic beer, which has been brewed according to the same traditional methods for centuries. Matured in wooden barrels, lambic is the result of traditional techniques and expertise found nowhere else in the world. With their colours, flavours and scents, lambic-style beers are a source of refined pleasure and a perfect companion for moments of pure conviviality. A fascinating film on the brewing process immerses you in the history of this unique beer full of character!
The Balenberg is a legendary place. Not only because it’s part of the annual Sven Nys Grand Prix, but mainly because the master himself dashed up and down these hills as a child. You can still see him racing around here in his free time. No wonder Sven chose the top of the hill as the location for his Cycling Center.
It’s quite a spot! The Sven Nys Cycling Center is an excellent place to experience and to learn about off-road cycling.
The experience center is the heart of the Sven Nys Cycling Center. You walk under championship jerseys from one historic cycling moment to another victory. Take a peek into the camper where the brothers Toon and Thijs Aerts prepare for a race. Have a go yourself at finding out how far you can cycle through the sand pit. Experience exactly what it’s like for supporters along the sidelines.
Match the right tyre tread to the right surface. Or take a ‘mud selfie’ with Sven in our photo booth.
The Cycling Center focuses on more than just cyclo-cross racing. The experience center pays tribute to all off-road cycling disciplines. You’ll learn all about mountain biking, cyclo-cross, trial bike, and BMX.
You’re coming with a group? A guided tour will give your visit an extra dimension.
The experience center explains the theory, but you should really try putting it into practice outside. Different courses, constructed against the slopes of the Balenberg, do credit to the four cycling disciplines.
Try the famous Grand Prix Sven Nys cyclo-cross track, where Belgium’s best cyclo-crossers compete every year on New Year’s Day. A tough, single-track mountain bike course winds between the trees. Try your tricks on the BMX freestyle track or, for daredevils, on the rock garden and dirt line. And young kids can cut loose on the pump track. Sounds too challenging? It doesn’t have to be. Even without experience or lots of lung capacity, there are plenty of possibilities. And to top things off… all these courses are accessible all year round for free.
Rent a sturdy mountain bike or a real cyclo-cross bike. Bikes are available in all shapes and sizes. Was the course muddy? The center has a bike hose-down area and changing rooms with shower stalls.
A beautiful footpath winds through the site for those who prefer something calmer and want to enjoy the natural beauty.
The terrace of the Café Velo looks out over the cyclo-cross track on the slopes of the Balenberg. It’s the perfect place to relax after your visit, bike ride, walk, or cyclo-cross adventure. Replenish the calories you burned with healthy dishes from the menu.
SVEN NYS CYCLING ROUTE
A cyclo-cross athlete will not get into shape by just training in the field. Athletes like Sven Nys spend much of their training time on the road in order to increase their endurance levels. As it turns out, Sven lived and trained in a beautiful region - Hageland!
Sven Nys has drawn up a 93-km road loop that takes hardy cyclists past his favourite training tracks. You’ll ride through the loveliest landscapes in Hageland, traverse pleasant villages, and discover Hageland’s vineyards. Be prepared for a few serious calf-killers. Feel free to take a break from time to time, especially when you come across all those special places of interest.
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY IN BEAUTIFUL HAGELAND
A hilly region where wine slopes and fruit orchards colour the landscape, strewn with rural villages and surprising provincial towns. A bike ride or walk through Hageland is always a pleasant surprise.
The Balenberg and the Sven Nys Cycling Center is literally and figuratively the high point of many walking and cycling routes. It links up with the Flemish Brabant cycling network, Sport Vlaanderen’s mountain bike track, and several walks in the area. The Balenberg is a tourist attraction for every cyclist and hiker in Hageland.
You don’t need a racing bike or mountain bike to enjoy this lovely piece of Hageland. Discover the region via four recreational cycling circuits, each with their own accents, along the nodes of the Flemish Brabant Cycling Network. These cycling circuits take you from Leuven and Aarschot to the Balenberg.
TREK TEST CENTER
Are you planning on purchasing a new mountain bike or cyclo-cross bike? Good advice and an extensive test ride are very important. The Trek Test Center allows you to try out various models at the Sven Nys Cycling Center.
The test bikes are skilfully measured and set up by Tony De Haes, the manager of the Trek Test Center. Tony used to be one of Sven Nys’ trusted mechanics during the mountain bike season, so he knows his business!
As well as displays on the life and works of the famous Flemish poet, the birthplace of Guido Gezelle (1830 - 1899) also hosts temporary exhibitions about literature. The house also has a romantic garden and organic kitchen garden, where visitors can see Jan Fabre's piece 'The Man who gives Fire'. This was originally the country house of a rich merchant, where Gezelle's father worked as a gardener and his family had simple accommodation. The house dates from the 16th century and the surrounding estate initially extended as far as the residential area of Gezellewarande. The house was recently carefully restored and looks once again as it did during Gezelle's youth. The garden is a true oasis of peace.
The Volkskundemuseum is housed in eight 17th century almshouses, with a modern extension. Here you can see a classroom, cobblers, milliners, and cooper's workshops, a tailor's, a pharmacy, a patisserie, an inn, a Flemish living room, a bedroom, and traditional textiles. Each room contains a wealth of antique objects and authentic decors. On the top floor, you an enjoy our lace section. Next to the museum's tavern 'De Zwarte Kat' (The Black Cat), puppets, items of decor, props, posters, programmes and photographs are used to tell the story of the time-honoured Bruges puppet show 'Den Uyl'. With some luck you will meet Aristide, the living black cat and mascot of the museum.
The museum draws archaeology out of its purely scientific context with a mixture of archaeological findings, replicas, and reconstructions, demonstrating that archaeology is really the study of people and their environment through the ages. The museum also covers aspects such as landscapes and environment and how people dealt with them, how they lived, buried their dead, or produced food. Following a planned route, you can wander from prehistory through to the late Middle Ages, while fun tasks give even the youngest of visitors an insight into the archaeological process.
The 115 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, numerous paintings, 13th-century painted sepulchres and the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold. Due to restauration works, some parts of the church are temporarily closed to the public. Therefore you can benefit from a rate reduction.