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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Old Flanders

Last month we went to Bokryk, an open air museum and park in the beautiful and green province of Limburg. I can't count how many times I went there as a boy on various school trips. History has always fascinated me, and Bokryk is like being dropped smack bang in 14th to 19th century Flanders. Or a slightly dusted-off version of it.

Farmer's bedroom  

A farmer's bedroom in a typical cottage. Places like this begg to be photographed in black&white or sepia.


Carts and charriots  


It's not just static displays of old houses and tools. Things are quite lively thanks to a bunch of actors that take their role to heart. This local sheriff, or champetter in the Flemish dialects, gave anyone visiting his village a stern look.

Game of cow dung dropping  

Visitors can place a bet on the cow dung game. A meadow is divided into 10x10 fields and then they let a cow in. Then, everybody waits until the cow drops her load and if it's in your field you win. I want to emphasise that modern Flemish people do not spend their weekends staring at cows until they do a poo. Instead we watch local television, which is shit anyway. Oh, well. That's progress for you.


These lot were very weary about my camera, until I explained it was a gift from the devil that would capture their souls.

Farmer's wife  

Vegetable garden  

I want a garden like this. With a windmill in the background.

For whom the bells toll...  


Herbs and spices drying  

Lace making in Bokryk  

Any tourist that's been to Belgium knows that Bruges is famous for its lace, but it was not the only place where lace was produced. This lady is making needle lace, while in the front you can see the implements to make bobbin lace.

Old machine  

The is an old machine to make... things... and... stuff.

Mushroom on birch tree  

Nun in Bokryk  

Antique photo camera  

I don't care how much easier it is to make pictures with a digital camera, it will never be as beautiful as this venerable machine.

This little piggie went to the market  

This little piggie went to the market... AND WAS NEVER SEEN AGAIN!

The priest herds his flock  

The catholic priest herded his flock and protected the villagers against those dangerous socialists who tried to poison the workers with crazy ideas about workers' rights, the right to vote, equality and other rubbish.

Pumpkin flower  

The notary's house  

A look inside the house of the local gentry, probably a notary or a lawyer, or maybe even the mayor.

School's out for ever  

Shoemaker's tools  

Inside the shoemaker's shop.

The old town in Bokryk  

The market square with lots of pubs  

Bokryk even has an old town, with an old market square, with old pubs. We are in Belgium after all.

Horses' tredmill  

Pre-industrial revolution mechanics: a tredmill driven by one horsepower.

View on a village from the Haspengouw region in Belgium  

Village pub  

The village pub.

Windmill in Bokryk  

I just love windmills.

Windmill in Bokryk  

Labourer's wife in her Sunday dress  

The wife of a coal miner. Poor people from all over Belgium would leave their rural villages go and work into the coal mines in Limburg and the French speaking south of Belgium. They would wear the same clothes all week long, but on Sunday they had to dress up nice to attend mass.

Posted by Bart at 3:41 PM
Edited on: Thursday, October 25, 2007 3:27 PM
Categories: Being Belgian, Framed

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