Cycle through the water landscape of De Wijers

Abdij van Herkenrode
Welcome to the land of 1,001 ponds. This green piece of Limburg was once essential for fish farming. Today it is a wonderful setting for a small adventure. We cycle along nature reserves, culinary highlights, heritage and even straight through the water.

Cycle through the water landscape of De Wijers



Fietsen langs Abdij van Herkenrode- Hasselt

Start: Herkenrode

Today we start our journey at the Abbey of Herkenrode. This former monastery of the Cistercian nuns is a vessel of stories. The first stone of this stately domain was laid almost 900 years ago. Herkenrode even became the first female abbey in the Netherlands. At the end of the tour – this abbey is our starting place as well as our finishing place – we will learn even more about its fascinating history. First we take a sip of water and then we get going.   


1,001 ponds

We pedal in north-eastern direction and immediately end up on a beautiful, low-traffic bicycle road in the direction of De Wijers. This is the name of what is going to be the backdrop of this biking tour. This 26-hectare natural landscape is full of ponds, lakes and brook valleys. A valuable natural area and a wonderful environment to explore in peace and quiet. After ten minutes of pedalling, we find a first highlight there: the lookout tower of the nature reserve. We park our two-wheelers and climb the stairs until we are 15 metres above the ground. The view is instantly overwhelming. From the tower we see hundreds of ponds, a taste of all the beauty that we will be cycling past. 

De Teut

A journey back in time

Curiously we ride on and we are soon back on a beautiful, closed cycle path. It takes us for miles through the Limburg fields. Somewhere halfway along this path our two-wheeler takes us to De Teut. The unique silence of this vast heathland grabs us by the throat. Especially at the end of the summer, this is an impressive sight, when the rolling heather turns purple when the flowers bloom. We are far from the first people to discover this region. In prehistoric times, this was already a popular place. Hunters came to whet their axes on the so-called Holstenen, a kind of sandstone that stood the test of time here.

After an introduction to our ancestors from primeval times, we go forward in time a little. Not the present day yet. Because we are travelling on towards Bokrijk. This open-air museum is located in the middle of a beautiful nature reserve. The centuries-old buildings and some 30,000 pieces of heritage testify to the daily life of the past, from the 17th century to 1950. Are the little ones also on this tour? They are sure to enjoy themselves on the large open-air playground. 

Fietsen door het water, De Wijers, wat inzoomen

A unique cycling experience

After our stop in times long gone we ride our bikes again and our journey is almost half way. This is where we experience a sensation we have never experienced before. De Wijers area is known for its many lakes. We are coming very close now: Cycling through the Water. This wonderful experience is exactly what the name promises. The cycle path stretches across a pond from one bank to the other. In the middle of this unique path, the water is at eye level on both sides. After enjoying a unique and exciting experience, we will continue towards the centre of Hasselt, the capital of the province of Limburg.

Fietscafé Bar Kaai van Brouwerij Jessenhofke

Art, culture and a drink

There we find the time for a share of heritage and culture. Hasselt has a great deal to offer, and this journey says it all. Cheerful cyclists with a fondness for the contemporary arts will find what they are looking for in Z33, house for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture. Interested in the more traditional expression of culture? The nearby Jenever Museum tells you all about the history and craft of this typical Limburg product.  

After our cultural stop(s) we now cycle towards the final kilometres of our small adventure. Again, we follow the water. On the banks of the canal, we once again find a tasty resting place on our route: the Jessenhofke brewery. We discover the range of this thriving organic brewery with a view of the metre-wide canal. We sip from a lovely glass while the boats quietly float past.  

A quick stop at Jessenhofke really marks the end of our cycling tour. For the last few kilometres, we will once again make our way along idyllic cycle paths, through the greenery and between the 1,001 ponds of the Wijers nature reserve. So we’re back to where we were, at the gates of the Abbey of Herkenrode. We lock the bikes here for a moment. Physical activity is exchanged for a good amount of heritage. The experience centre of the abbey tells us the highs and lows of the 600 years of women in this abbey, while we reflect calmly on the wonderful landscape through which we cycled today.  




We started our route at the Abbey of Herkenrode, but there is also an alternative starting point at the train station in Hasselt. 

  • Parking:
    Parking Abdijsite Herkenrode
  • Public transport:
    Station Hasselt (alternatief startpunt)
  • Bicycles for hire:
    Verhuur E-bike
  • Nodes:
    94 > 93 > 301 > 300 > 305 > 79 > 71 > 92 > 91 > 243 > 98 > 97 > 96 > 95 > 237 > 94