Hidden Belgium: Pajottenland

Hidden Belgium: Pajottenland

You find paintings by Pieter Bruegel in major museums around the world. But not many people know that the artist painted many of his most popular works in the villages of the Pajottenland, just outside Brussels.

Bruegel walked out of the city through the Porte de Hal to reach the rural locations where he painted Flemish peasants dancing at weddings, hunters tramping through the snowy landscape, and harvest workers asleep in the fields.

Some of the places he visited have vanished, but a few have survived, including the village of Sint-Anna-Pede. Its plain stone church appears in the background of Bruegel’s painting of The Parable of the Blind, now in Naples.

The local tourist office has created a Bruegel walk that leads you past 19 panels with reproductions of Bruegel paintings. The 8km trail begins in front of the church of Sint-Anna-Pede.

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.

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