The magnificent Municipal Park van Brasschaat, Belgium

Today, the extensive and beautiful Gemeentelijk Park van Brasschaat of about of 116 hectares is the favorite green paradise for recreation, sports and entertainment of inhabitants of Brasschaat. Especially in spring and summer, amidst lush greenery and flowers, there are many public events and sports competitions. Undoubtedly, the most important landmark of the park is always Kasteel van Brasschaat (Castle of Brasschaat), the former residence of Count Reusens. But, in recent years, two public events have gained increasing popularity.

Among the green decor of the park, against the backdrop of the Kasteel van Brasschaat, a classic concert is held in the  summer that presents pearls of the most beautiful and loved classical musical works. This year, in the full swing of the summer, among the green coolness of the park, will happen again Brasschaat Klassiek 2017. The Classical Summer Music Festival Fourth edition will be on 14 and 15 July, 2017 in Gemeentelijk Park van Brasschaat. On the open scene of Brasschaat Klassiek 2017 will feature some of the best soloists from prestigious opera theaters in Europe.

The Classic Boulevard is the other event expected with many interest and curiosity. Its 9th edition will be on 05 and 06 August 2017. This is an attractive review of retro cars of all brands and of any age, preserved their charm, which takes place with the partnership of the Belgian Automotive Company.

It's in our days, but ever a long time ago, the history of the park was another ... More than 300 years ago, on the terrain that is now near Kasteel van Brasschaat was the former Helhoeve farm that became a place of entertainment in the 18th century. The castle itself also has its own history. Somewhere at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the owner of the domain was Honoré Guyot, according to data in the municipal archives. The next owner of the property was Auguste Reusens, the father of Armand Reusens, a former Mayor of Brasschaat from 1872 to 1901, from whom he inherited Helhoeve after his father's death. Count Armand Reusens, brother of Count Georges Reusens (King Ambassador to the Holy See, Vatican), was increased significantly the domain. In 1865 Count Armand Reusens bought Broomans-akker and other additional terrains totaling 45 hectares, and in 1872 he began the demolition of Helhoeve and the construction of a magnificent Neo-Gothic castle with a large park and lake around the castle. The park and the castle became part of the Reusens’s family property. As mayor of Brasschaat, Armand Reusens proposed that the park be open for public use. After his death in 1901 the estate remained the property of his cousin Baron Auguste t'Serclaes de Wommersom. But the baron dies only a year later, and the estate remains owned by his brother Baron Albert-Octave 'tSerclaes de Wommersom, who sells some of family possessions. After 1906, however, the domain and the castle became the property of a corporation, and one of the shareholders, Eduard Thys and his family lived in the castle until 1914. Later, Anne-Rose Gremmingen, widow of the wealthy Antwerp merchant Georges Born, who had a successful trade in Latin America and especially in Argentina, bought the castle in 1923. She adds another 40 hectares of land around the Laarse beek in the territory of Schoten, which forms the border between Schoten and Brasschaat. In 1936 she added another 10 hectares, which were once located in the area of the current E19 road. In Brasschaat it was then called "het goed van Born" ("the good by Born"). In the park, in front of the castle five lakes with fountains were made. In the corners of the central lake, sculptural groups are placed on pedestals. The gardener Jef Van Riel, who traveled alongside architect Jos Hertogs to Versailles to study the French landscape architecture experience, has the primary concern for the park's arrangement.

During the World War II the park and the castle underwent major destruction and damage. A field hospital was set up and the park was turned into a huge warehouse for storing drinking water, fuel and ammunition. Many trees have been severely damaged and destroyed after the bombs have fallen into the area. The traces of this destruction can be seen in some of the big trees in the front of the park.

After the war, the castle and the domain became the property of Brasschaat municipality in 1949. The total area of the park at that time was 169 hectares, of which only 104 ha were on the territory of Brasschaat. Only a few years later, in 1951, the castle has been provided by the municipality as a sanatorium for children with tuberculosis, which was called "Préventorium Georges Born". Nowadays, the castle has been transformed into a hotel-restaurant and is used for public and private events.

The Bos en Groen organization, which manages a part of the domain from 1978, is crucial for the maintenance and development of the park. Thanks to their care over the last 40 years, over 41,000 new trees have been planted and the green biodiversity has increased, as we can see in the park different deciduous and coniferous grown trees such as beech, hornbeam, oak, chestnut, black alder, hawthorn, spruce, pine and other. Total over 15 km paths and walking alleys contribute to relaxation among the lush vegetation of various types of trees, flowers and ornamental plants.

Source of information: public information from Brasschaat Municipality, (Herwaarderingsplan Park van Brasschaat, Gemeente Brasschaat, September 2011).
Photos: personal archive.

Related images

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

View to the Kasteel van Brasschaat in Gemeente park, Brasschaat, Belgium

View to the Kasteel van Brasschaat in Gemeente park, Brasschaat, Belgium

View to the Kasteel van Brasschaat in Gemeente park, Brasschaat, Belgium

View from the Brasschaat Castle to the Gemeente park, Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

View to the Kasteel van Brasschaat in Gemeente park, Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Gemeentelijk park (Municipal park) van Brasschaat, Belgium

Related links

http://www.brasschaatklassiek.be/

http://www.zoetwatervissen.com/belgieparkbrasschaat.html

http://www.hln.be/regio/brasschaat-vroeger-en-nu/uitlegger-c11869/?fileList=false