Experience and discover
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As soon as you walk through the impressive gate building of the former abbey, you are transported right back to the Middle Ages, far away from today’s hustle and bustle. The Cistercian nuns have left their mark not only on the surroundings with beautiful abbey buildings, but also with the construction of dozens of fish ponds. The Abbey of Herkenrode therefore rightly deserves the title of ‘gateway to De Wijers'. It is the ideal starting point to strike out for cultural-historical hikes or cycling trips, where you do as little or much as you like or are able to do.
What is there to do?
Experience Centre with shop and visitors’ centre
Herkenrode was the first and at one point the most affluent women's abbey in the Netherlands. At the Experience Centre - the former stables and coach house - you can follow the story of 600 years of women at Herkenrode, in good and bad times. Two children's treasure hunts turn history into an exciting experience. In the shop, you will find some of the abbey’s own produce, enjoy a regional beer or get information about the region.
Herb and Inspiration Garden
In the garden set in two hectares of land, guides will tell you how the herbs were used by people across the ages and cultures. The hortus officinalis and campus officinalis each accommodate some 250 different herbs. A fun treasure hunt is built in for the children.
Hans Op de Beeck's 'The Quiet View'.
Amidst the historic buildings, in the place where the abbey church once stood, you step into the sculptural installation ‘The Quiet View’, where the peace and quiet of the abbey site, as well as its simplicity, are raised to another level.
From the site, you can strike out for marked nature trails, ranging from 1 to 9 K. They take you along ponds, orchards, damp grasslands, hedges and historic landscapes. The 76K long-distance hike also departs from here. Dogs must be kept on a leash, except in the dedicated dog area next to the parking lot, where they can run around freely.
buy the hiking map
Hiking areas nearby
- Herkenrode Woods
The Herkenrode Abbey Site is located on the Limburg cycling route network that connects the entire region. The visitors’ centre is a recognised cycling café where bikes can be rented. Cycling maps are available from the visitors’ centre. If you prefer a signposted cycling loop, then we recommend the Hasselt flavours cycling route or one of the cycling loops through the ‘Wijers’ with the Wijers cycling map .
Bikes can be hired via www.toerismelimburg.be/nl/fietsservice
buy the cycling map
Food and Drink
On the abbey site
A trace of the Provence in the ‘Wijers’: that's Limburg Lavendel. Lavender is grown here and processed into all sorts of deliciously scented products. Walk through the beautiful garden or enjoy the tranquillity on the romantic terrace.
The fully restored ‘Tuiltermolen’ mill is home to the Herbal Knowledge Centre, open during certain events or can be hired.
Rent a bike and visit the inviting city centre of Hasselt. Take a stroll through the streets and alleys full of trendy shops or visit one of its museums, such as the Jenever Museum, Fashion Museum Hasselt, ‘Het Stadsmus’ or ‘Villa Verbeelding’. A visit to the world-renowned Japanese Garden should definitely be on your to-do list.
Dina Deferme's Garden
Every year, garden architect Dina Deferme holds open-garden days in her romantic, English garden set in 4 hectares of land.