Vilvoorde has lost most of its industrial heritage, but one former factory is still standing next to the canal.
The Kruitfabriek stands on the site of a 19th-century factory that made explosives. During the First World War, the German army used it as a munitions dump. After the war, a massive blast reduced the building to rubble.
The Kruitfabriek lay abandoned for many years, but reopened in 2014 as a cultural centre. It is now occupied by a circus workshop, music school, bike workshop and craft space. There is also a sustainable coffee roastery and bar called Gayo Coffee Factory (open Friday to Sunday).
Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.