Discover spring in Flanders: six delightful highlights

Fietsvakanties_Vlaanderen_Antwerpen_Hingene_Stiltegebied_Kasteel_D-Ursel © David Samyn

“Nothing seems impossible in spring,” as L.M. Montgomery described it very aptly long ago. Cycling, history and a rich beer culture, culinary heights and a wonderful science museum, the untouched nature and recreated landscapes. Here are six highlights for a fulfilling spring in Flanders.

Cycling In Flanders

Spring classics, top sport and tradition

Shh. If you listen carefully, you will hear the murmur of an approaching peloton, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd. When spring arrives, cycling in Flanders always comes first. The E3 Classic, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders … are just some of the spring classics that make these times complete. Out on these courses a sporting battle unfolds and alongside them a grandiose people’s party ensues. During the Tour of Flanders around a million spectators will fill the roadsides. Discover the history and heroism of this race at the Tour of Flanders Centre, the experience centre in the Flemish Ardennes that is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. If that is not enough for you then take a look at our packed cycling calendar.

Asperges op zijn Vlaams

Culinary journeys of discovery

Perhaps cycling cannot satisfy your hunger? In which case, it’s time to fill your stomach. During the Ascension Weekend (18-21 May), both Antwerp and Ghent are organising a celebration entirely dedicated to culinary culture in their city centres. Gent Smaakt is a free culinary festival in the historic city centre. A tasty confluence of history, heritage and our food culture. Antwerpen Proeft means the same for Antwerp: a unique culinary journey of discovery, in the heart of the city. There is also plenty to discover outside of that weekend. Somewhere around the middle of April, the asparagus season takes off in our region. This delicious regional product is traditionally grown underground, to prevent photosynthesis. This means that these delicacies retain their snow-white colour and their sweet soft, rich taste. Asparagus Flemish-style is hard to resist.

Flanders Fields - Tyne Cot Cemetery Zonnebeke - © Hans Kerrinckx

A landscape to cherish

The spring sunshine makes us dream of all the beauty to come but also allows us to reflect on the past. Flanders Fields, in the west of Flanders, was the backdrop for some terrible battles during the First World War. At least 600,000 people lost their lives at the time. As from 29 April, Landscapes / Feel Flanders Fields will be focussing on the vistas in the region. There are numerous projects that tell the stories behind the former battlefields, cemeteries and monuments in Flanders Fields. So that we never forget what happened there.

GVB - Weg met jongeren - GUM

Science, through trial and error

Ghent is not just a proud medieval city, but also a place that values knowledge and science. Ghent University has been functioning as an institute for over 200 years and recently the Ghent University Museum (GUM) has started to demonstrate this to all those who want to hear. This dazzling science museum does not focus on geniuses or inventions but shows that science is the result of trial and error, of doubt and imagination. The GUM does this by means of themed exhibitions built around magnificent pieces from the university archives. A dream activity for people of all ages. GUM has also developed an offering tailored to children. After the museum, a visit to the Botanical Garden and tropical greenhouse completes a wonderful day for everyone. The GUM and the Botanical Garden are a place where everyone can feel welcome and every effort is made to make the building, services and programme as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Hallerbos - ©

Bloomers, blossoms and migratory birds

Spring is the flowering season and that is hard to miss in Flanders. The first stunning scene can be found in the Hallerbos, some 20 kilometres from Brussels. In mid-April, this woodland is transformed into a beautiful purple carpet of wild hyacinths. A gorgeous setting for a spring walk. The Hageland region around Leuven also has some assets in hand. This region is home to thousands of hectares of apple and pear orchards. In the spring, the blossoms bloom sumptuously. They add colour to your walk, both literally and figuratively. If you want to discover some fauna as well as flora, you can go to the Zwin. This nature reserve is listed as an international airport for migratory birds. The marked footpaths take you to watchtowers and shelters which give you a wonderful view of the big return of migratory birds after their winter away.

Belgian Beer battle Flanders

Beer places to be

No, you don’t need any particular reason or location to enjoy a delicious pint of Belgian beer. But it is nice to drink. Next spring offers two wonderful opportunities to do just that. The Zythos Beer Festival (22 and 23 April) in Kortrijk is one of Europe’s largest tasting festivals, entirely dedicated to Belgian beer. The Bruges Beer Festival (10 and 11 June) in the city of Bruges is a classic event which presents a mix of established and newcomers to the Belgian beer scene. In one word: cheers!

Perhaps you should lie down for a while because this list is too overwhelming? Then do so, but get out your diary and start planning. If you want to stimulate your taste buds or your mind or you want to stick to food and drink or go for tradition, culture and nature then Spring in Flanders offers something for everyone. See you soon!

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