It’ s a sunny Saturday morning when I wake up in Antwerp. I collect myself and jump into my car. Headed to Boom, it’s also where my buddy, Fons, lives. We’re going on a trip again! Headed for Scheldeland, ready to experience and learn about “De Groote Oorlog” aka the Great War!
*This article is made possible by a collaboration with Toerisme Scheldeland. They helped me fund and organize the trip. For which I’m thankful!
Upon arrival at our first stop, Fons and I notice we are hungry. In the town square of Dendermonde, we find a classic ‘Brasserie’. Den Ommeganck is located across the town hall. Not only do they have good food, they also have a nice view of the main square.
Since Dendermonde is famous for its steed Beiaard, I thought it was appropriate to order the horse steak. I drank a Malheur 12 to accompany the great taste.
Other delicacies from Scheldeland:
- Eel: Because of all the rivers, there are plenty for you to eat.
- Asparagus de Calfort: Which used to be for the elite only.
- Gandaham: The famous ham from Destelbergen
- Headmeat: well, that’s the translation. It’s famous in Dendermonde
Let’s go back into Dendermondse history
Across the restaurant, I asked the tourism board for extra information about the walk in the city. They gave me a booklet with all the stops for the “Dendermonde, ruine aan Schelde en Dender” walk clearly marked in it.
During World War I a lot of things went down in Dendermonde. Now the locals enjoy their position next to the rivers Schelde and Dender, but then they were a strategic highlight.
The walk starts at the town square and tells you the story of many fires, arrests, and even murders.
The walk is 4,2km long and takes you past 11 stops in the city. Some are in the city center, others are near the rivers and ponds. It’s the perfect way to discover the city, old and new, and get a bit of exercise after you’ve enjoyed the local cuisine.
If you want to spend more time there, consider booking a hotel in the lovely city of Dendermonde.
Visiting Park Fort Liezele
As with many forts in Belgium, the old lines of defense are turned to nature and recreational domains. Park Fort Liezele was reopened during the weekend I was there, so it had loads of festivities.
I dropped of Fons at the big screen where he could watch the football match, and I went off exploring. Walking around the moat of the old fort. Now it has turned into a place for relaxation. It even has a terrace.
The domain it pretty big. I am sure I didn’t see 100% of it, even though we spent most of our afternoon there.
Things to do in Fort van Liezele
You can find this big domain at the Fortbaan 2 in Puurs if you are looking for a nice place to stroll around and relax, I can highly suggest this place.
- Discover the history: With diorama’s, photo panels and other items you can discover the history of the fort
- Evening walks with petrol lamps: Which seems like a nice and cozy thing to do!
- Plenty of walk and cycle routes to enjoy.
- Play around with the Erfgoed app (heritage app).
Around the moat, you can find lots of insects. Well… if you search for them. The walk is relaxing and beautiful, the view is gorgeous, and the atmosphere (now) is so peaceful.
Around lunchtime, we headed to our hotel: The Volante Yacht Club.
Dinner on the water
After checking in and settling in at the room, we made reservations for one of the Donut Boats at the hotel. The concept was new for me, and I needed to try it out!
Basically, you get a donut shaped boat. You choose what you like to eat from the menu, and as soon as dinner is ready, you leave the docks.
With a small motor, you can go explore the yacht harbor with the little boat. While enjoying your food and drinks you get a different view over the region. And even more important, you’re away from the people.
With no one around you, there are no loud conversations on the table next to you to disturb you. So relaxing!
After dinner we were too relaxed and full of food, we headed straight to bed!
Walking at Biezenweiden in Scheldeland
In the region Scheldeland there are a lot of opportunities to take walks in nature and next to the rivers. Fons and I decided to go to the Biezenweiden near Willebroek. The nature domain is known for its large population of cormorants.
Other beautiful places to go for a walk in Scheldeland:
TIP: When walking in a region with a lot of water, bring an insect and mosquito repellant.
Other things to do and see in Willebroek:
- Sashuis: learn about the history of the channels and Klein-Willebroek.
- Museum Herman de Cuyper: discover the original works of the sculptor.
- Harmonium Art Museum: a big collection of harmoniums.
- Fort van Breendonk: a fort turned concentration camp.
- Vredesbrug: A big metal bridge that is pretty impressive to see.
At the end of the walk, we jumped in the car again and headed to Puurs. There you can find an old fort from the Old War that now is open to the public. It’s kid-friendly since they installed a big playground. The Sint-Pietersburcht is a lesser known place in Scheldeland, so don’t expect too many other tourists there. 😉
Other castles to visit:
- Kasteel D’Ursel: Only open for groups though, but it is possible to stroll around the garden anytime.
- Kasteel de Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde: A castle with the Duke still living there.
- Fort Bornem: An older part of the fortifications.
- Kasteel van Laarne: Open for visitation every Sunday at 3 pm.
- Fort van Breendonk: An old concentration camp.
Time for some energy
At the end of our two days discovering the beautiful region of Scheldeland, we needed to fill our tummies. In the center of Puurs, we discovered a little coffee place with the name Zjateau. It’s a play on words in Flemish. Zjat is Flemish for a cup (of coffee), and chateau means castle.
At Zjateau you can enjoy good coffee, I had a salmon bagel as lunch. Fons stayed Belgian with a croque monsieur.
As you know, Fons and I are avid fans of beer. So in Scheldeland, we made sure to buy a big collection of local beers. But if that’s not enough for you, there are plenty of breweries to visit in Scheldeland:
- Brouwerij Dilewyns: Known for their brilliant Vicaris beers. Reservations are needed.
- Brouwerij Huyghe: Chase the pink elephant with their Delirium Tremens beer. Reservations are needed.
- Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat: Famous for their Duvel, a Belgian favorite.
- Brouwerij Slaghmuylder: Known for their Witkap. Only available for groups of more than 20.
- Brouwerij Bosteels: Home of the famous Kwak and Karmeliet. Open for groups during the summer months.
All in all, Scheldeland is a beautiful place to visit. If you want to discover a bit of Belgian history or just the beautiful nature around our rivers, this is the place to be!