The Ultimate Guide to the Most Beautiful Crypt in Brussels


I know that I had planned a completely different post for today, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I have to postpone this to next week. Instead, let’s return to Belgium!

Today we will have a look at one of the most beautiful crypts in Belgium, the Laeken Cemetery Crypt. This is not to be confused with the Royal Crypt of Belgium, which you can find underneath the nearby Church of Our Lady of Laeken; as the name suggests, this is the burial place of the Belgian Royals. The Laeken Cemetery Crypt, on the other hand, stretches out under Laeken Cemetery itself, which is one of the oldest and most beautiful cemeteries in Belgium. Many famous Belgians are buried here and the cemetery is also known for its magnificent tombs and works of art.

Where Exactly?

Laeken Cemetery is located in Laeken, a municipality to the north of Brussels. It is the home of the Royal Castle (not to be confused with the Royal Palace in the Belgian capital itself) and the Royal Greenhouses.

When you enter the cemetery, just follow the main path until you can go no further and then turn left. You will see this building:

Just take the stairs downstairs.

There are three tunnels in the crypt, similar to the main paths in the cemetery above. They were constructed at the end of the 19th century. The most recent burials date from 1978, when the crypt had already been neglected for a long time. Due to liquifying coffins and exploding caskets, the place was a nasty state. More than 30 years later, the local government restored the crypt and in 2017 it was open again to the general public.

Although the crypt is in a lot better state now -most of the mold and the rust are gone, walking around in the many galleries still gives you an eerie feeling.

The Cemetery Itself

…is also worth a visit.

Practical Information

The address: Leopold I-straat, 66, 1020 Laeken.

The cemetery is open every day, from 8.30 am to 4 pm.

At the entrance you can park your car. There is also a metro nearby (stop: Bockstael) and trams 62 and 93 pass in the neighbourhood as well.


Exploring Movie Locations – Haunted Fortress Adventures (B&W)

The movie location of today is quite a unique place. Not only has a movie been made here, but it is also part of our urbex project, Creepy Travels and finally, it’s not open to the public. Horror writer and blogger Vanessa Morgan, Lars and I had permission though to visit the place and photograph it (thanks, Vanessa!).

The Strangers Outside

Let’s have a look at the movie first and especially the book on which it’s based. Both have the same title and our good friend Vanessa Morgan is the writer. As it says on Amazon,

Two families return to their remote holiday cabin after a day at the seaside. But little do they know they’re being surrounded. Shortly after their arrival, they will come face to face with THE STRANGERS OUTSIDE. When the assailants make their intentions known, things take a shockingly terrible turn, and an intense battle for survival will begin.

I would really spoil the fun if I gave you any more details… Anyway, The Strangers Outside started as a short story, but later Vanessa reworked it into a novel. In 2011, it was turned into a movie with Pierre Lekeu, Iulia Alexandra Nastase and Avalon (Vanessa’s cat). Check this out:

Alex Corbi’s song Avalon features some images of the movie. Philippe Geus, by the way, was the director of The Strangers Outside.

The Location

The movie was made in various locations in Belgium, but for the creepiest part of The Strangers Outside, the crew went to Sint-Katelijne-Waver, a small town between Brussels and Antwerp.

The Exterior

Filming took place around and inside a fortress in Sint-Katelijne-Waver, called Schans Dorpveld. It was built just before World War I; because of its strategic location, the goal was to prevent the Germans from invading Antwerp after Brussels. Unfortunately, the plan failed.

This was actually our second visit to Sint-Katelijne-Waver. During the first one, I was impressed by the creepy vibe of the building. The whole location, however, oozes a peculiar atmosphere; holiday cottages, which have surely seen better times, surround the fortress, where about a century ago soldiers died. Moreover, a couple of strange events occurred during that first visit… If you want to know what exactly, you have to wait until I publish the color pictures I took then.

Anyway, the three of us were very eager to return and we did so in the summer of 2017. This time I planned to edit all my pictures in black and white and Lars and I also wanted to make a video of our visit. That last part didn’t work out at all, however… I don’t think that any paranormal forces are to blame for this; a GoPro is known to function badly in low light conditions and inside the fortress, it’s quite dark.

But we had hardly arrived when my camera started to malfunction. Strange, because I had checked all settings twice before I started shooting. I checked them again but to no avail. To this day, I have no idea what happened to my camera… Anyway, I cannot offer pictures of the usual quality for this post; on the other hand, they do have a spooky atmosphere.

The Interior

During our first visit, the ground floor was completely covered with garbage. Most of it had been cleared by the summer of 2017, whereas the second floor, on the other hand, looked pretty much the same. And we even discovered rooms we had missed the time before. My camera was still malfunctioning, by the way.

I have noticed that lately, I have been posting a lot about Belgium, but we have visited a lot of other countries as well! So, expect a lot more variety in destinations from now on.

Fall in Love with Meetjesland

What and Where

Although Belgium is small and is densely populated, there are still rural areas where you can find peace and quiet and where you will hardly meet a tourist. Such an area is Meetjesland, situated in the northwest of the province of East Flanders. The town of Eeklo is its (non-official) capital.


But where does the name Meetjesland come from? This is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

There are many legends surrounding the origin of the name. The most known is the one of Emperor Charles V (Charles V) who was known for his sexual appetite. The story goes that when he traveled through the region people hid their daughters and their attractive young women, making emperor Charles think this region was full of old women (meetjes).

In the summer of 2017, Lars and I spent a whole day driving around in this region, which is characterized by forests, canals, polders, and creeks. If you like landscapes we highly recommend a visit to Meetjesland.


This is a small village with about 1.000 inhabitants. Most of them, however, live in nearby Bentille; in Sint-Jan-in-Eremo itself there are merely a handful of houses. We mainly came here to photograph the biggest creek in this area, called the Boerekreek.

There is also a canal, called the Leopoldkanaal, the scene of heavy fights during World War I and II.



Do you like mussels? Then you really have to go to this small town, which is known for its many mussel restaurants. Assenede has a rural character, probably because it is quite isolated, due to the lack of public transport connections with Ghent and Brussels. Nevertheless, it has a rich cultural life.

Around Assenede you will find creeks and polders.


And now for something completely different: the “Kasteel van Wippelgem”, which stands for “Castle of Wippelgem”. Its original name is “Goed ten Hulle”; the castle dates from late medieval times and was reconstructed in the 19th century. The domain is open to the public and the castle serves as a location for weddings and other festivities.

Although it was very cloudy, it was actually quite hot, so Lars and I were in desperate need of a beer. Luckily for us, there was a cafe/restaurant on the domain.

The official address is Kramershoek 4, 9940 Evergem. (Wippelgem is part of Evergem).


Our next stop was at Zomergem. We were not in the village itself but at the nearby Schipdonkkanaal.

This canal runs from the town of Deinze to the North Sea.

Source: Wikipedia

Because of its strategic position, some heavy fights took place at the Schipdonkkanaal during both World Wars.


Near the small village of Bellem is a beautiful fishing pond, called Kraenepoel. It originates from the 13th century and is home to a lot of fauna and flora.

As usual, I will soon post the other pictures on our sister website, The Cosy Traveler. And here is a map with the locations mentioned in this post.

Our next post is something really special! The building and domain are not open to the general public, they served as a movie location and are also part of our urbex project, Creepy Travels.

Exploring Movie Locations – Château d’Antoing

The Movie

To be honest, until about 3 years ago, we had never heard about The Devil’s Nightmare, although I do know a thing or two about horror movies. But our good friend – and part – time collaborator – Vanessa Morgan had and moreover, she also discovered that we could actually visit the castle where it had been made.

The Devil’s Nightmare (1971) is a Belgian/Italian horror movie, with a quite simple plot: 7 travelers – on a bus tour somewhere in Europe – get stranded in a castle, where a helper from Satan himself starts killing them off. The movie is known under a handful of other titles and has an intriguingly spooky atmosphere. On my movie website, I will shortly write a more detailed review about it.

For quite some time, you could find the complete movie on YouTube – which is how I actually watched it (!) – but when I did the research for The Devil’s Nightmare, I could not find it anymore on their website. However, the trailer will give you some idea:


The Château d’Antoing is located in the small town of Antoing, in the province of Hainaut. Although Lars and I had been travelling extensively in Belgium for 8 – 9 years – and pretty much the rest of Europe, for that matter, we had somehow ignored this southwestern part of Belgium. In other words, thanks to a horror movie, Lars and I could see a part of my country that was relatively unknown to us.

The Exterior

About a dozen of us followed the guide a sunny Sunday afternoon in July 2017. The first thing she pointed out to us was that on the domain there used to be a Jesuit school; one of its most famous students was Charles de Gaulle, who attended college from 1907 to 1908. During the first World War, the building was used as a German hospital.

Although most of the castle was constructed between the 13th and 15th century, the oldest parts date from the 10th century. The fortifications around the castle were very impressive.

The castle was then redesigned in the 19th century in the Neo – Gothic style.

Next, we visited a small chapel on the grounds. You can briefly see it towards the end of the movie.

A final look at the grounds and then we entered the castle.

The Château d’Antoing has been in the hands of 3 families: Antoing, Melun, and Ligne. The Prince de Ligne, who belongs to one of the oldest families in Belgium, is its current inhabitant.

The parts of the castle where the current family lives, are – as you can imagine – not open to the public. Nevertheless, we did recognise parts of the interior from the movie.

I certainly recognised this spot, because one of the characters in the movie is murdered here.

You can only visit the Château d’Antoing with a guided tour, which takes about 2 hours and is only in French. Find out more about it here.

As you can imagine, I took dozens of pictures during our visit. Later this week, I will publish more of them on our sister website, The Cosy Traveler. Coming up on this website in the next days is the least tourist region of Belgium.

In the Company of Rats – The Sewer Museum

Want to see Brussels from a (literally) completely different angle? And you are not afraid of occasionally running into a rat? Then why don’t you pay a visit to the Sewer Museum and learn everything about the history and infrastructure of the sewage system of the Belgian capital!

Brussels has actually had a sewage system since the 17th century. But in the beginning it was far from perfect; the network was incomplete and inhabitants of the city kept on throwing garbage into the river Senne. As you can imagine, this led to a lot of pollution and in the 19th century drastic measures had to be taken: the vaulting of the Senne in the centre of Brussels. This explains why you can’t see any river (anymore) in the heart of the Belgian capital.

The museum also pays a lot of attention to the infrastructure of the sewers in Brussels. Building this system must not have been an easy task, given the presence of traffic tunnels and the metro and pre-metro system. In the 19th century, the sewer network was about 45 kilometres long, nowadays it’s more than 350 kilometres! In the museum, you can also learn everything about the installations such as the pumps, pumping stations, siphons and so on.

The Sewer Museum is not located in the heart of Brussels. The exact address is:

Pavilions d’Octroi – Porte d’Anderlecht
1000 Brussels

You can come here by public transport: take tram 51 or 82 or bus 46 and get off at the stop Porte d’Anderlecht. You can also come by car, of course, because there is parking space in the area. Just a word of warning: this is not exactly the fanciest neighbourhood of Brussels, so be really careful with your valuables. Anyway, at your arrival at the Porte d’Anderlecht, you will see 2 pavilions: one is the entrance and the other one is the exit of the museum. Finally, if you want to know all about the entrance fees, the guided tours, activities for children and the like, better check the official website of the Sewer Museum.

The part of the museum that I liked the most was the small fraction of the sewer system that you can visit. It’s like being in a completely different world. The personnel in the museum is very friendly and most of them know French, Dutch and English. Another fun part of the Sewer Museum is the gift shop; don’t hurry or you will miss the hilarious collection of rat dolls. All in all, my visit to this museum was a very pleasant one. Moreover, according to some other visitors, the Sewer Museum in Brussels is more interesting and more fun than the one in Paris.

A Walk in a Paradise of Plants

First of all, we wish you all a Happy 2020! And if you like traveling as much as we do: Happy Travels!

It has always been our goal to fulfill at least one travel dream every year and even though we did not travel a lot in 2017, we succeeded in visiting some places that had been on our bucket list for quite a long time. The bear refuge in the Black Forest was one of them and a visit to the Meise Botanic Garden another.

Meise is a small town to the north of Brussels, in the province of Flemish Brabant. It’s actually quite incomprehensible that it took us such a long time to get there – Lars and I have been traveling together since 2010, given its short distance to the Belgian capital. But in the summer of 2017, we made it our priority. And we – finally! – succeeded in visiting it!

What we didn’t know before our visit, was that this is actually one of the biggest botanic gardens in the world. The domain is about 92ha big (that is 227ac for our American readers), it has 18.000 plant species and a herbarium with more than 3 million specimens. Impressive numbers, to say the least!

Meise Botanic Garden organises various events and exhibitions throughout the whole year, by the way. And you don’t need to worry either when you are hungry and/or thirsty during your visit. Check out their official website for more information.

By the way, Meise Botanic Garden was established at the end of the 18th century. Its first location was actually in Brussels itself; the move to Meise took place shortly before World War II.

Lars and I spent half a day in Meise, which is barely enough. It’s a huge domain and there are at least a dozen of greenhouses. If you can only spare a couple of hours, you will have to make a selection. Fortunately, at the entrance of the botanic garden, you will receive a brochure with a detailed map. At certain times, there is also a small train that brings you from one spot to another.

We also made a short video of our visit. Check it out and don’t forget to like and subscribe!

If you are a nature lover, we really recommend a visit to the Meise Botanic Garden! Again, have a look at their website and… take your time for your visit.

Important announcement… We dedicate this website to our best and most beautiful travel experiences. From now on, we will publish all the pictures that don’t make it here to our “sister” website The Cosy Traveler, which you can find here and also here.

ZOO Antwerp – Let There Be Light!

One of the Belgian cities that I miss the most – even after having lived 18 months in sunny Spain, is Antwerp. It has a completely different vibe though from Brussels where I used to live, which is probably one of the reasons I like it. And some of my best friends live there! Anyway, did you know that Antwerp is home to the oldest zoo of Belgium and one of the oldest in the world? Some facts and numbers:

  • Established in 1843.
  • More than 7000 animals of more than 900 species.
  • More than one million visitors a year.
  • One of the venues of the 1920 Summer Olympics.

As you can imagine, in winter when days are sombre, short, wet and cold, it tends to attract fewer visitors. But since a couple of years, ZOO Antwerp organises a special event during about 6 weeks in winter that does bring in more people. And it’s called China Light Zoo (at least the first four editions).

Simply put, all over the zoo, you can see light installations depicting various elements, characters and events of Chinese culture and history. And animals, since we are in a zoo! The artists who set up these installations actually come all the way from China. Anyway, I have been lucky enough to see 2 editions of this event: 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 (the last one before I left Belgium).

I put a lot of pictures of the first edition (that I visited) on my other travel website; if you are interested, have a look here. As you can guess, here I will feature pictures of the other edition (2017-2018). I took dozens of photographs during that cold December evening, but I took my time to find the best ones.

A little bit more pictures than usual, but then I had more than 150 of them to choose from! Anyway, if you are interested in this event, the edition of this year has a different theme and hence another name: Jungle Book Light Festival. For more information, check out this link.

Where Magritte Found His Inspiration

Even if you are not an art aficionado, you must have heard about René Magritte, Belgium’s most famous Surrealist painter. In the Belgian capital, you can visit two museums dedicated to the artist and his work. The biggest one is located in Brussels itself, near the Royal Palace and has become one of the main tourist attractions there. A smaller one is in the house in Jette where he used to live.

But there is a place elsewhere in Belgium, in the province of Hainaut, that has a very special link with Magritte, something not so many people know about. It’s the old cemetery in Soignies (Zinnik in Dutch), located not so far from the church. It was first mentioned around 1320 and lost its function as the main cemetery at the end of the 19th century. Nowadays it’s used as a park: a lot of tombstones have been relentlessly taken over by nature.

Anyway, as a child, Magritte used to come to Soignies on holidays. There, he liked to play at the old cemetery with one of his friends. And then one day, something caught his attention: a painter quietly working at the cemetery. At exactly that moment, a young Magritte knew that he wanted to become an artist as well. As an adult, he always thought fondly back of that precise time.

To be honest, I wasn’t aware of this information until I saw it in a tv program. And then I immediately knew I had to see this place for myself, especially since I have always been of Magritte and his work. So on a beautiful sunny autumn day in 2017, Lars and I drove to Soignies. As luck would have it we could park our car right next to the old cemetery.

With the golden sunlight piercing through the leaves of the trees, the whole scene looked so tranquil, almost fairytale-like,…

From the main entrance of the cemetery, you have a good look at the chapel, in the center. Unfortunately, it was closed.

Near Soignies is located the spring of the Senne, the river that runs through Brussels – although underground for the main part. Lars and I drove around for an hour in order to find it but failed miserably…

I will add more pictures of the old cemetery of Soignies shortly on our Instagram feed!

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