Hidden Belgium: The Jenever Museum

Hidden Belgium: The Jenever Museum

The Jenever Museum in Hasselt occupies an ancient brick farm that once belonged to the order of White Nuns. It was turned into a distillery in 1803 and converted into a jenever museum in 1982.

It is an intriguing place that explains the history of jenever distilling, the complex flavours that can be added to improve the taste and the social culture that has grown up around jenever drinking.

You can admire old stoneware bottles, a collection of distinctive tulip-shaped glasses and dozens of historic advertising posters that chart the various creative attempts to sell the drink.

But it’s not just a museum. They still make the strong stuff on the site, germinating grain in musty dark cellars and distilling it in a tower where the smell of malted barley and rare spices hang around from the last distilling session.

The tour ends in a nostalgic tasting room where you are offered a shot of the museum’s own Sint-Lambertus-drèpke, a subtle blend of jenever flavoured with 15 different herbs and spices.

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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