Discover Benelux | Museums Special | Belgium & France
Family fun and culture at Château de Jehay TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL | PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU DE JEHAY
Château de Jehay is a château with a difference. Not only does the 16th century, moated château in Liège contain Belgium’s largest collection of historic British furniture, but its extensive park and gardens are the scene of some of the country’s most popular family events. The gardens date back to the 18th century and spread over several acres with elegant, chestnut tree-lined drives and gardens landscaped in the Italian Renaissance style complete with sculptures of nymphs and water features, extensive woodland and a kitchen garden. A series of events take place in the gardens, the most famous being the ‘Nuit Sorcière’. “This is one of the Château’s most popular events,” says director Catherine Allard. “It is based around Halloween and last year attracted more than 5,000 visitors. From 5pm until midnight, children and adults are entranced as they follow a torch-lit, mystery trail through the woods, en-
countering ghosts, ghouls and wizards. Expect puppet shows, live music and storytelling.” Another family favourite is ‘Children First!’ on 5 August in which the entire château park is dedicated to children for the afternoon with games, music and storytelling. Events are not solely geared towards children: the Spring Gardens weekend on 26 and 27 May offers a plant fair on a majestic scale. 9 -10 June sees the ‘Beer Heritage’ weekend when the château joins forces with local breweries and microbreweries for two days of tastings, concerts and fun. “These events are a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. We’re delighted to see so many people visiting us and enjoying nature in this way.” The park and kitchen garden are open to visitors throughout the year. There are also regular exhibitions in the park’s pavilions showcasing the château’s impressive collection of British furniture, including pieces by Chippendale and Georgian master Thomas Sheraton.
Photo: © Province de Liège
Entrance to the gardens is €2.50 while a combined ticket for the gardens and exhibitions is €5. For event tickets, visit: www.chateaujehay.be
A hidden cultural gem in Brussels TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: MUSÉE & JARDINS VAN BUUREN
Only ten minutes from the centre of Brussels is the unmissable Van Buuren Museum & Gardens, home to the world-class collection of renowned Dutch art collector David van Buuren and the magnificent gardens so beloved by his wife Alice. Born in Gouda, Holland, in 1886, Van Buuren settled in Brussels in 1909. He and his wife’s stunning Art Deco home, now the museum, was built in 1928. There, you will find a wide range of antiques and a breathtaking collection of works by renowned artists from the 16th to the 20th century. “Van Buuren was the only patron of Belgian expressionist painter van de Woestyne. The house possesses 32 of his paintings, making it the largest collection in the world,” explains curator Isabelle Anspach. The magnificent gardens surrounding the mansion boast an Art Deco rose garden by 26 | Issue 52 | April 2018
Belgian landscape architect Jule Buyssens and a romantic heart-shaped secret garden and Labyrinth by René Pechère. “David was passionate about art and Alice loved looking after the gardens, so they perfectly complemented each other,” smiles Anspach. “When David died, Alice commissioned the heart-shaped garden as a homage to her husband.” In perfect timing for spring, restoration of the gardens will be fully complete at the end of April. From mid-June to mid-September, visitors will be able to enjoy the sculpture exhibition Comme si de rien n ‘était taking place in the grounds. The museum is also well adapted for families, with a special children’s route and outdoor games area.
The museum and gardens are also available to hire for private events. To find out more about upcoming cultural events including concerts and contemporary art classes email info@ museumvanbuuren.be Web: www.museumvanbuuren.be
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