A modern take on beautiful patrimony
4 patrimonial gems with an inspiring new purpose
Scheldeland is bursting with historic buildings, some of which have adorned our landscape for centuries. The fact that these buildings offer opportunities for the future has been understood in Scheldeland. Beautiful heritage here is not simply abandoned. On the contrary. With a new purpose, these unique locations are given a second lease of life. That contributes to a veritable reappraisal of our history, as the region is full of such exciting stories. Ready for a refreshing sip of excursion ideas? These special heritage spots catapult you with one leg in the past and one in the future.
Drinks in the Batteliek
Catholicism and beer are two important ingredients that have shaped our history. Today they are elegantly reunited in the Batteliek. This is how Het Anker Brewery has rechristened the neo-Classical St Joseph's church. De Batteliek is located in the heart of the Battel district in Mechelen, close to Leuven Canal. There's no question of sacrilege, since the liquid gold is brewed with equal devotion. De Batteliek is not only a micro brewery, but also a meeting place. Beer fanatics and lemonade lovers, plus everyone else who is keen to sample an extraordinary setting, are all welcome here.
You won't go hungry either. Food is served in the former church as well – and you won't find any dry wafers. The experimental cuisine with tantalising dishes will simply blow your mind. You could call it a divine experience.
Quenched your thirst and filled your tummy? Then it's time to roll up your sleeves and start brewing. You can bring out your inner Belgian with a distilling or beer brewing workshop.
In short: The beautiful, picturesque church is worth a visit. It's a surprising piece of patrimony.
Heilig Hart Brewery: in the name of the father, the son...
Got a taste for visiting churches with a drink in your hand? The Heilig Hart brewery is based in a wonderful piece of patrimony, the Heilig Hart church in Kwatrecht. From the outside, this church looks quite simple - it was designed by the Ghent architect Henri Geirnaert, construction began in 1909 - however, inside the brick cross-basilica and low aisles capture the attention.
Of course, another thing you cannot miss is the traditional micro brewery that sought refuge here. The focus lies on the sustainable process and nature. That means that no additives are used here, and the beer is neither filtered nor pasteurised. In short: it pays tribute to the traditional art of brewing. There is also an unusual range of wine, sake and distillates.
The Heilig Hart brewery is a pleasant place and the home of heavenly drinks. The crypt can also be rented for events.
Hard labour at Schotte
Leerlooierij Schotte is an old tannery beside the Dender in Aalst. The former site has been revived with the arrival of the hyper-modern sports complex and activities from The Outsider. And don't be scared off by the name, because The Outsider has something for absolutely everyone.
In the former tannery, animal skins, mainly from cattle, were transformed into products such as handbags. Most of these buildings have been demolished, but an old factory chimney now serves as a climbing tower. This is one of the few pieces of heritage in Flanders that you can actually climb on. Of course, as the historical artery, the Dender also features in the new experience at the Schotte site. Enjoy the unique environment from a kayak, canoe, river bike or whispering boat - we leave you to discover exactly what that is.
Adventure in every sense, because the restaurant De Looyerij, on the first floor of the sports centre, offers a varied menu. Burgers, rib-eye steaks and salads. So you won't go hungry.
Fort Liezele: the best defence against boredom
Fort Liezele is the best-preserved armoured fort in the defence belt around Antwerp. That's already one good reason to put it on your must-visit list. Add to that the trendy re-purposing of this heritage site: from escape rooms to a barefoot path and landscape park.
The museum about the historic monument was recently renewed. The result is an interactive experience, which is both educational and exciting for young visitors. Then there's the Fort café De Batterie, where you can find some refreshment. The panoramic roof terrace treats you to one of the finest views of Scheldeland.
Rather take your time to enjoy this delightful destination? You can dine in the restaurant Resto Broox, at the entrance to the park. As from November you will also be able to spend the night in the fort.
Patrimony, today's place to be
There's no need for an educational excursion to a historic moment to be a dull experience. In Scheldeland, a number of heritage locations have been wonderfully repurposed. People still work hard on the site of old Schotte tannery, but these days that's during their sporting, climbing and kayaking activities. In the Heilig Hart church in Kwatrecht, life is celebrated daily with a glass of naturally fermented beer, wine or distillate. In the Batteliek you take part in a distilling or beer brewing workshop and in Fort Liezele you combine a museum visit with an escape room or barefoot path. It makes a nice change, and what fun that is. Don't wait until tomorrow to visit these wonderful places from yesterday.
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