Bokrijk, the Open-Air Museum and the park

 In Belgium, Europe, Hasselt

Bokrijk is a park and a open air museum situated in the province of Limburg, which is known for its open air museum, collecting large display of historical buildings, its around 5 and a half square kilometres in size, Bokrijk houses the largest collection of plant in Belgium and largest open air playground.

Museum first began as an idea from Governor Hubert Verwilghen, his idea to create a public domain that would combine culture and nature together and in 1953 the the Provincial Council of the Province of Limburg decided to create an open-air museum in Bokrijk. Museum finally opened to the public on the 12th of April 1958, as part of the Limbrug Expo 58, Brussels World’s Fair.There are 148 authentic buildings that form the heart of the heritage collection. Also in the collection are some 30,000 pieces of everyday life from the 17th century to 1950.

The museum is split into three clusters, which are arranged by the geographical region of origins:

  • The Kempen situated between the Scheldt polders and Maaskant in north-east Flanders. The museum reproduced the traditional timber based on dwellings farm.
  • East and West Flanders has a number of buildings which show characteristics work places and housing.
  • Haspengouw and the Maasland is well known as the traditional square farmsteads and fruit area. you can find a museum which is a copy of the village of Ulbeek. The village is arranged around the village square with two ponds and lime trees.

Aboretum first began in 1965 and is known as the largest plant collections in Belgium. The plant collection was arranged into ornamental gardens such as the Mediterranean garden, a conservatory, a fern garden, woodland and march areas, the first Aboretum covered eighteen hectares.

The Playground area in located in the parkland, which also houses the Play shed, you can find play equipment as well as mini cars and miniature golf.

The Wik is a large nature reserve, this part of the Bokrijk parkland however its not open to the public and is consists of nineteen lakes, its looked after by Natuupunt, which is a volunteer organisation.

Bokrijk, the Open-Air Museum and the park

Photography by flickr user: Pedro

Brief History of Bokrijk 

On 9th of March 1252, The forest was sold to Cistercian Herckenrode Abbey by Arnold IV Count of Loon and Chiny, the forest was situated between Hasselt and Genk Zonhoven, named ‘Buscurake, an area covered in Beech Trees. The Cistercian Herckenrode Abbey built a farm, which was run by the Abbey Brothers during the first two centuries. However during the 14th century the Herckenrode Abbey rented the farmstead to halfwinnen.

In 1447, remained in the ownership of Abbey until the French rule, It was first named ‘Bouchreyck’ around 1719 due a beech plantation along the water.

On 22nd of April 1797, the Bokrijk was sold to Maastricht family for 90,000 francs, but it was later taken over by Rittweijer, who was the director of the ‘Société Génerale de Belgique’, until 1859, Count of Coghen lived at the estate, Rittweijer son in law, who was the Minister of Finance.

On 21st of March 1938, The Province of Limburg bought Bokrijk from the Central Credit Bank of the Farmer’s Union, On 6 October 1953, the Permanent Deputation of the Province of Limburg, under the dynamic impetus of governor Louis Roppe, established an Open-Air Museum in Bokrijk and In 1958, the Open-Air Museum opened its doors to the first visitors.

Bokrijk, the Open-Air Museum and the park

Photography by flickr user: Vitaly Volkov

Telephone: +32 11 26 53 00 | Official Website | Instagram |

How to get there

  • By Train: Bokrijk Park has its own train station, with hourly direct trains from Brussels, 1 hour and 30 minutes journey, Hasselt Station 10 min journey and Genk 5 minutes journey.
  • By Car: Bokrijk is situaded between Genk and Hasselt, just 1 hours drive from Brussels and Antwerp.
  • Parking: There are 2 large car parks: Car park 1 and Car park 2, Parking: € 5/day – until October 22nd or € 10 for a 5-turn card.

Opening Hours

Monday Closed
Tuesday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thursday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Admission

Ticket Type Open-Air Museum + The sixties
0 – 3 years Free Entry
3 – 12 years € 2
13 – 59 years €12.5
60+, restricted mobility & group rate €10.5

Playground & Domain is free for everyone to visit, no matter what age. 

Location

Address: Bokrijklaan 1, 3600 Genk, Belgium

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