Hasselt is a small town that serves as the capital of Limburg, a province in Belgium. The town is mostly car-free which allows many visitors to roam around and view the sights of some of the oldest but beautiful buildings. There are also restaurants, pubs, shopping centers, and scenic gardens that will fit any mood. It is up to you which corner you would like to turn to.
1. Take free gin shots in a museum
The Nationaal Jenevermuseum translates to National Gin Museum, which means it is actually a museum all about the history of the jenever (gin) industry. Hasselt has been the most prosperous and innovative, making it the centre of the gin industry since the 17th-century. Not only can you learn more about the industry’s history, they also showcase expos, workshops, tastings, and performances. The museum’s cafe also gives free shots of the ‘jenever of the week’. They also sell the country’s best jenever selection for a normal retail price!
Address: Jenevermuseum, Witte Nonnenstraat 19, 3500 Hasselt
Telephone Number: +32 011239860
Website: Nationaal Jenevermuseum
2. Walk through the Flemish past
The Bokrijk Openluchtmuseum, or Bokrijk Open-air Museum, is one of Europe’s largest open-air museums. Walk into a wistful bliss as you walk through over 100 original antique buildings that are reminiscent of Flanders’ past. It comprises of real estate, moving and immaterial cultural heritage, and living heritage as well. The vicinity also holds a botanical garden and children’s playground making it a land welcoming to everyone.
Address: Bokrijklaan 1, 3600 Genk, Belgium
Phone: +32 11265300
Opening Hours: Museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 6pm
Website: Bokrijk Openluchtmuseum (in Dutch)
3. Attend a traditional festival
De Hasseltse Jeneverfeesten is an event in Hasselt that showcases the rich tradition of Hasselt. It’s a busy and fun-filled two days that one is surely not going to get bored during. There is going to be music, dance, street theater, a racecourse, showcases and exhibitions, and much more. Of course, they would not forget to showcase their homegrown jenever (gin) and so the highlight of the festival is “when the town’s little Borrelmanneke (barrel-carrying man) fountain is briefly re-plumbed to flow with jenever (gin)”. That is surely not to be missed. This happens every year on the third week of October so this year it’s going to fall on October 14 and 15, 2017.
De Hasseltse Jeneverfeesten
Address: Jan van Helmontlaan 49, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium
Phone: +32 11299556
Date: October 14 & 15, 2017
4. Explore a forest
Arboretum is a forest on the outskirts of Hasselt. It is included in the midst of the regional parks and forests so if you want some alone time or are in search of some peace and tranquility, then this is the place to be.
Address: Arboretum Bokrijk, Hasselt
5. Have tea beside a koi pond
One of Hasselt’s frequently visited attractions is their Japanese Garden. It has a koi pond, plants, flowers, and everything else organic. It is another place for you to relax, especially since the garden is located within the city. Not only that! They also provide a tea demonstration or a Japanese flower arrangement class. So this place is not to be missed!
Address: Koning Boudewijnlaan, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium
Opening Hours: Open everyday, except Mondays from 10am to 5pm
Phone: +32 11235200
Website: Japanese Garden
6. Go to a fashion museum
See the historic development of fashion through the couture displays in the Modemuseum Hasselt. The museum was established in 1988 and showcases the evolution of fashion through around 18,000 garments, shoes, handbags, and accessories. Every year, there are also exhibits from contemporary designers that will give you a taste of their distinct artistry and style. They also provide activities to engage and educate visitors more on fashion.
Address: Gasthuisstraat 11, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium
Phone: +32 11239621
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm
Website: Modemuseum Hasselt (in Dutch)
7. Have fun in and out of a theme park
For more fun and adventure, visit Plopsa Indoor Hasselt. It is a theme park that provides activities in and out of the venue. Inside, there are rides and attractions for family and friends. Outside, there is a playground and climbing mountain. Therefore you will never get bored in this place! Every corner that you look, there is always something going on! It’s the perfect place for families and children to spend time together.
Plopsa Indoor Hasselt
Address: Gouverneur Verwilghensingel 70, 3500 Hasselt, Belgium
Phone: +32 11293040
Website: Plopsa Indoor Hasselt (in Dutch)
8. Try looking for a unicorn
The Herkenrode Abbey is a monastery of Cistercian nuns since 1927. It was also the first women’s abbey and has gone through so much over the years. From decay periods to booming ones, this land has gone through it all. But after almost a century, the building still stands strong and is surrounded by beautiful natural reserves. They have an experience center and inspiration garden that are accessible to everyone. Plus, their symbol is a unicorn! Find out more by visiting the abbey, especially during the Unicorn Sage Family shows on Pentecost day!
Address: Herkenrodeabdij 4, 3511 Hasselt, Belgium
Opening Hours: Open everyday except Mondays, from 10am to 5pm
Website: Herkenrode Abbey (in Dutch)
9. Go on a boat trip
Hasselt provides a two-hour mini cruise through the Albert Canal and visitors get a view of the city. Hasselt is a Belgian city with many activities and sights to look forward to, so you would see different happenings and events throughout the whole city. Trips happen every Sunday, after lunch hour, so it is the best way to relax, and see the beautiful sights of the city.
Boat trip on the Albert Canal in Hasselt
10. Walk around a thousand ponds
De Wijers is a nature reserve, which as mentioned, uniquely has 1001 ponds. It is also a home for many rare animals and plant species so you are in for a treat. Many of these animals and plants wouldn’t even be around anymore if it weren’t for these ponds. You could also walk or cycle around the area.
De Wijers: land of 1001 ponds
Address: Grote Baan 176, 3530 Houthalen-Helchteren
Phone Number: +32 11785259
Website: De Wijers (in Dutch)
The charming city
Whether you are looking for something old or something new, Hasselt will always have something in store for you. The city that presents itself as the “capital of taste” - albeit if it’s style, architecture, or food - they have ticked all the boxes. This is a city that will provide you such a unique experience so it’s best not to miss it!
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