Holiday Escape / Outside

December and January are all about family celebrations, Christmas joy and good intentions.
For those who want to escape from the festivities for a bit, we selected various walks and exhibitions close to home.
Highly recommended to start the new year well.

Middelheim open-air museum shows modern and contemporary art in a green environment. Pieces by amongst others Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Rik Wouters, Alexander Calder and Panamarenko are shown in the park, presenting a unique overall picture of more than 100 years of visual arts. The sculpture park was opened in 1951. From then on, a sculpture biennial was organised there every two years. After 20 editions of this sculpture exhibition, it was decided in 1989 to find a different way to supplement the sculpture collection and build a permanent collection. In the middle of the park is the Braem pavilion, designed by architect Renaat Braem, which was inaugurated in 1971. Here, you can admire small or fragile sculptures and pieces from the collection that can’t be exhibited in the open air.

Tervuren Park is one of the Flemish entrances to the Sonian Forest. The monumental remains of a rich past make this green oasis even more magical – it is an enchanted forest with majestic trees, elegant French gardens, ponds and flowerbeds. The park is 205 hectares large and was once the hunting grounds of the dukes of Brabant. It also houses the
Africa Museum, the Colonial Palace and the chapel of St. Hubert. The museum, which is one of the most visited museums in Belgium, houses exceptional collections from the former colonies in Central Africa. For example, it has the richest and most famous collection in the world of ethnographic items from Central Africa, as well as the complete archives of Henry Morton Stanley. An ideal outing combining history and nature.

Gerlin Heestermans loves architecture and she showcases Belgium’s architectural landscape with Toerist Modernist. She organizes visits to modernist heritage sites in Belgium. Each visit includes a guided tour led by the inhabitants or a guide. Gerlin’s passion for architecture started when she happened to discover unique architecture, and it has now extended to google maps with hundreds of little flags. Toerist Modernist is all about buildings and houses, preferably from the fifties and seventies. She has recently organised visits to the home of
Jozef Schellekens (1934) in Turnhout, to Villa Gaverzicht in Waregem (1937) and to Huib Hoste’s Lens house (1934) in Mechelen. Gerlin keeps you informed via instagram or newsletter.

Words by Stephanie De Smet