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Flanders: A Flemish primer

intro

History is so clearly present in Flanders that it is palpable in everything in everyday life, and blessed with a unique cultural heritage, it is home to no less than seven UNESCO listings. Here are 5 ‘B’s’ that make up Belgium’s Flanders region.

beer

Beer: Listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Belgian beers date back centuries when monks started brewing them. There are about 1,500 types of beer, ranging from deep red to golden blond and dark brown, brewed using many different fermentation techniques.

beguinage

Beguinages: In the Middle Ages, beguinages were quiet communities that functioned as enclosed villages – built in typical Flemish style – for religious widows and women who supported themselves through manual labour. Beguinages are scattered throughout Flanders.

belfry

Belfries: Belfries across Flanders are listed as heritage sites because of their significant value; they have stood for the power, influence, and wealth of the cities since the Middle Ages. Architectural styles range from Gothic and Renaissance to Baroque.

Bruges

Bruges: Filled with traditional buildings and cobbled streets, a trip to the medieval city of Bruges is like a trip back in time. Adding to the charm are a network of enchanting canals where you can stumble upon quiet houses or grand churches.

cycle

Biking: The Flemish are fanatic about cycling: there are cycling monuments, museums, and cycle-friendly hotels and bars. There are miles of bike trails – over 100 themed cycle loops and 12,000kms of cycling routes – that take you through the Flemish landscape.

Perhaps the most unique feature of Flanders is their equal love of beer and cycling – there are actually beer cycling routes scattered throughout the region. Have you read our latest issue with our Flanders Beer Cycling special? Read more about beer cycling here.

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