Have you ever visited a new place from which you did not have many expectations, but ended up impressing you deeply? Many travelers experience this when they arrive in Hasselt.
Hasselt is not as popular as other Belgian cities like Brussels or Bruges, but it is a beautiful tourist destination worth visiting. Tourists will be surprised by the many unique things that can be done here, but especially the beauty of places and attractions that will enable you to explore this wonderful destination.
Here you will discover the real Belgium, full of charm, history and interesting sights. Here are some of the most important attractions that we recommend to include in your travel plan to Hasselt:
National Jenevermuseum. It is a museum that presents the history of the gin industry (jenever). Few know that Hasselt had the most prosperous and innovative gin industry in the seventeenth century. Not only does Jenevermuseum provide visitors with more information about the fascinating history of this industry, it also hosts workshops and exhibitions featuring various gin drinks, tastings and shows.
The Japanese Garden. Hasselt is home to the largest Japanese garden in all of Europe, opening in 1992. Designed and planted by Japanese craftsmen following traditional principles, the garden is splendid at any time of the year, but during the spring, when the cherry blossoms present a true spectacle of nature. Hanami, the annual cherry blossom festival, is marked by special events such as tea ceremonies, guided garden walks and various shows.
Bokrijk Openluchtmuseum. Bokrijk is one of the largest outdoor museums in Europe. Located outside the city, quite close to Genk, the museum houses over 100 original ancient buildings reminiscent of the glorious past of Flanders, presenting the history of rural life in Belgium. Next to the museum there is also a botanical garden and a playground for children, which makes it an ideal place to visit if you are traveling with your family.
Virgin Jesse Basilica. It is a church built in 1727 in the early Baroque style and in the early classical Renaissance style. The building took the place of another church, Clerkenkapel, which was erected in 1334 by a member of the Brotherhood of the Lady. Inside the church you can admire several works of art, including the statue of the Virgin Mary, a polychrome statue from the 14th century, the baroque altar carved by the artist Jean Delcour and the mausoleums of Anne Catharina de Lamboy and Barbarei de Rivière.
The Fashion Museum. Fashion enthusiasts will be delighted to find out that in Hasselt there is a museum dedicated to clothing art, housed in a magnificent 17th century building in the center of the city. Known for its innovative temporary exhibitions, the museum pays tribute to the city’s history as a center of the textile industry. The permanent collection is also very interesting, being composed of pieces by Belgian designers in Hasselt and the surrounding area.
Herkenrode Abbey. This was the home of a community of Cistercian nuns from 1217 until 1974, when the building and the surrounding estate were designated a national historical monument. Today, the site contains a visitor center that tells the story of the women who lived here, as well as a restaurant, a children’s bookstore and several landscaped gardens.
The Boon Chocolate Shop. Hasselt doesn’t have as many chocolate shops as Brussels or Bruges, but it hosts one of the best. At Boon, chocolate candies are all handmade and can be found in a variety of assortments, with aromas of even smoked chili, lemongrass or ginger.
Whether you are interested in the history of the city, the local culinary delights or simply want a relaxing stay, the capital of the Limburg province is a destination that will surely delight you!