Hidden Belgium: Lier Begijnhof

Hidden Belgium: Lier Begijnhof
Lier Begijnhof. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The little town of Lier is sometimes called the Bruges of the Kempen. But it is far less crowded.

Yes, you can do a boat tour, but it’s in a strange river barge with a net at the front once used for eel fishing. Yes, it has a Begijnhof, but the walled religious community is a sleepy neighbourhood of eleven cobbled lanes hidden behind a high brick wall.

The Begijnhof in Lier was founded in the 11th century as a small, almost utopian, community of single women. Most of its 162 houses have been reconstructed over the years, mainly in the 17th and 18th century.

The last of the begijnen who lived here died in 1994. Some of their houses have been turned into social housing. Others are abandoned, waiting for someone to restore them.

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.

Copyright © 2021 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.