The castle of Regelsbrugge

On the border between the city of Aalst and the Parish of Nieuwerkerken you can find the castle of 'Regelsbrugge'. The name 'Regelsbrugge' refers to a nearby small bridge that was built in the the year 1395.

The castle was once a first-class building in Nieuwerkerken and originally had a garden of 30 hectares. Little is known about the origin of the oldest part of the castle. Around 1795, the castle was extensively rebuilt by adding a floor, By doing that, the slender towers lost their graceful elegance. In 1878 one of the side wings was demolished. There used to be a clock in one of the towers. The inhabitants called it the "pattatter clock" and was mostly used at festivities.

The castle was completely broken down in 1933. On the same place a new castle was built in neo-traditional style. In the new design only the two towers have been rebuilt. At the moment the castle is private property and not open to the public.

You can find the castle at this address: Kwalestraat 119, Aalst.

Little blue Belgians

The Smurfs are small blue creatures devised by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo, (pseudonym of Pierre Culiford). Smurfs are 3 apples high and wear a white cap and white pants, except their leader, he wears a red cap red pants. They live in a secret village deep inside the Belgian woods. Sometimes the village is terrorized by the common sorcerer Gargamel and his cat Azraël. This wizard wants to wipe out the Smurfs forever.

After their debut in the strip album, 'The Flute with six Smurfs' (1958) came the first real Smurfs comic book in 1963: 'The Black Smurfs'. After this comic book 31 other albums followed.

The Smurfs became world famous after the cartoon film series from 1981, in collaboration with Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. The series had 9 seasons and was a great success in the US and later in the rest of the world. The episodes based on the original comic books were later extended with newly written episodes specially adapted for the cartoon series. In 2011 the The Smurfs made their first full feature hollywood movie.  

The Jubel or Cinquantenaire park in Brussels

The park was commissioned by King Leopold II to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Belgian independence in 1880. In 1888 and 1897 the world exhibition was held here.

The most striking building in the park is the triumphal arch, which was completed in 1905. The first appointed architect to design the building was architect Gédéon Bordiau. After his death, the king appointed the French architect Charles Girault to complete it. The building consists of three equal arches with above the middle arch a bronze image representing the province of Brabant on a chariot, drawn by four horses. At the foot of the triumphal arch, there are a total of eight statues that represent the other provinces on either side. Belgium had 9 provinces when the triumphal arch was built, later a tenth one was added by dividing the province of Brabant into two provinces, a Flemish and a Walloon one.

The park houses 3 museums: The Jubelpark Museum, the Royal Museum of the Army and its Military History and the Autoworld museum. There are also different interesting fountains and monuments in the park. Another remarkable building is the Tower of Beyaert, also called the 'Tour de Tournai'.

You can find the park at this address: Jubelpark, Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels.

The castle of Gaasbeek

The original castle was built in the 13th century as part of the defense wall around Brussels. In the following centuries the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Its position evolved from strategic castle to summer residence and outdoor residence. It was consecutively inhabited by several noble families. The Count of Egmond, was one of the best known owners.

At the end of the 18th century, the castle was owned by the Italian archer family Arconati Visconti. It became a center where scholars and artists met. At the end of the 19th century, marchioness Arconati Visconti, the last owner, took the initiative for a thorough renovation. She set up the castle as a museum for her huge private art collection. The marchioness donated the castle to the Belgian state in 1921. Three years later it was opened as a public museum.

You can find the castle at this address: Kasteelstraat 40, Lennik.