Werchter

Belgium

Overview

Werchter is a small village in Belgium in the municipality of Rotselaar and is most famously known as the site of the festival Rock Werchter, one of the most prominent rock festivals in the world. Werchter is near Leuven city, a university town, with the oldest Catholic University in the world, founded in 1425. Leuven is located 20 Km east of Brussels, Belgium’s capital and is home to Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world's largest brewing group. Stella Artois, AB InBev’s flagship beer, has been brewed in Leuven since 1926 and sold across the world.

Events

Things to do in Werchter!

Hotels

Booking.com

Guide

Neighborhood


Rotselaar, the municipality comprises the towns of Rotselaar proper, Werchter and Wezemaal. Rotselaar is located at the convergence of two rivers, the Demer and the Dijle, which in turn have the Winge and the Losting as tributaries, and the Laak River forms the border between Werchter and Tremelo to the north.

The Domain Ter Heide is the main recreational domain in Rotselaar. It is popular among walkers, cyclists and bird-watchers. The keep "Ter Heide", this unique tower is based on a Greek cross floor plan and was probably built around the year 1350.

Leuven, near Werchter, has many attractions including its famous Town hall, Churches, and Great Beguinage which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Getting around


General info

How to get to the city from the Airport

Brussels Airport 

  • The Brussels Airport is approximately 35 Km from Werchter.
  • You can use the following services to reach Werchter:
    • Train
      • The train station is situated at the basement level (level -1) of the airport. There are two trains per hour to Leuven. It takes 15 minutes to reach Leuven. 
      • Refer here for the train schedules.
      • Refer here for train fare information.
    • Bus
      • The bus station is located on level 0 - one floor down from the arrivals hall - and can be easily reached by using the escalators or elevators.
      • Refer here for details.
    • Taxi
      • You can always find metered taxis in front of the arrivals hall. This is the simplest, but most expensive option. It would cost about EUR 40.00 to Leuven.
      • Refer here for additional information.
      • Car Hire:
        • In the arrivals hall you will find the desks of most major car rental companies including:

 

Brussels South Charleroi Airport 

  • The Brussels South Charleroi Airport is approximately 97 Km from Werchter.
  • You can use the following services to reach Werchter:
    • Bus
      • Bus line A connects the airport with Charerloi-Sud train station, which takes about 20 minutes, and costs EUR 5.00.
    • Train
      • There is no direct train to Leuven. Take a train to Brussel-Noord station. There you can change for a train to Leuven.
      • Refer here for the train schedules.
      • Refer here for train fare information.
    • Taxi
      • Taxis are always available outside the passenger terminal. This is the simplest, but most expensive option. It would cost about EUR 85.00 to Leuven.
      • Refer here for additional information.
    • Car Hire:
      • There are several car rental companies present at the Brussels South Charleroi Airport including:

Train

  • Leuven is a 20-minute train ride from Brussels, 45 minutes from Antwerp, 50 minutes from Liège and 1.5 hours from the Belgian coast.
  • The Belgian rail coordinates the operation of the train service.
  • It will take you approximately 20 minutes to reach Werchter.
  • Refer here for the schedules.
  • Refer here for fare information. 

Bus

  • The central departure point for the local buses is at the Leuven railway station.
  • The buses that leave from here serve all the outlying areas and surrounding communes of Leuven.
  • A day pass costs EUR 5.00, a three-day pass EUR 10.00 and a 15-day pass EUR 15.00 if purchased in advance.
  • The De Lijn coordinates the operation of the Leuven bus service.
  • Refer here for schedule and fare information.

Taxi

  • Taxis are available at Leuven bus stations and city centre.
  • The minimum taxi fare is EUR 2.40 and increases by EUR 1.80 every Km. 
  • Night minimum fare is EUR 4.40 and increases by EUR 1.80 every Km.                                                                                                     
  • Waiting charges are EUR 30.00 per hour.
  • Licensed taxi's can be identified by the blue-and-yellow/red-and-white symbol and can be found near the Fochplein and the Martelarenplein in Leuven and at the airport.
  • Taxi agencies with their contact numbers:
    • Taxi Jenny Cumps - 016 25 35 65
    • Taxi Gerard - 016 25 09 99
    • Taxi Cordons Leuvense Taxi Maatschappij - 016 22 20 00
    • Centrale Taxi Leuven - 016 20 20 20

Tipping


  • Tipping is not very common in Belgium. Service workers are generally well paid and do not rely on tips.
  • Restaurants: Tipping in restaurants is not expected because a 10-15% service charge is generally applied to your bill. If you feel that your service was exceptional, you can leave a few Euros as tip.
  • Bars: Tipping at bars is not expected but you may leave an additional amount if you are happy with the service.
  • Taxis: Tipping taxi drivers is not required or expected, but some people leave the change for their driver in order to round up to the nearest Euro. However, if the taxi driver goes out of his way to help, consider leaving a small tip. A few Euros is sufficient.
  • Hotel Porters/Concierge: Tipping the staff at hotels is not common because the cost of your bill will include services. However, with that said, you can still tip the bellman if you like. EUR 2.00 is fine for several pieces of luggage or EUR 1.00 per piece.

Suggested itinerary


Werchter, Leuven in 2 Days: Source (Wikipedia, Wikitravel)

 

Day 1 - Werchter

  • Ter Heide - This unique tower is based on a Greek cross floorplan and was probably built around the year 1350. The Domain Ter Heide is the main recreational domain in Rotselaar.
  • Van Doren - This watermill, first mentioned in the 12th century, offers an overview of its archeological and industrial past.
  • Sint-Jan-De-Doperkerk (Saint John the Baptist's Church) - This church dates back to 1439.
  • Sint-Pieterskerk (Saint Peter's Church) - A Neo-Gothic church in the centre of Rotselaar which was rebuilt in 1846.
  • The building of the former brewery Mena.

 

Day 2 – Leuven

  • Gothic City Hall - Leuven's Town Hall is one of the best-known Gothic town halls worldwide.
  • Sint-Geertruikerk - The church was constructed between the 13th and 15th century. The late Gothic tower, said to be one of the seven wonders of Leuven because its tower was built without securring pins
  • Groot Begijnhof (Great Beguinage) - This bit of UNSECO world heritage from the 13th century, has a succession of streets, squares, gardens and parks, with dozens of houses and convents in traditional sandstone.
  • Keizersberg abbey - This nineteenth-century Benedictine Abbey was built by the monks of Maredsous Abbey. A long wall encircles the buildings and the surrounding land so the abbey resembles an old fortress.
  • Botanical garden - Belgium’s oldest botanical garden has an amazing collection of trees and shrubs in the 2.2 hectare garden.

Staying connected


  • Belgium uses GSM 900 and 1800 frequency bands. The phone must be “unlocked” to accept the Belgium’s SIM card. For 3G, carriers use the 2100 frequency band, Proximus, Mobistar, Base, Tango and BUCD are providing 4G services in the country now.
  • You can rent a cell phone at the airport from Locaphone, for use inside or outside Belgium. Alternatively, if you plan to stay longer in Belgium, you can buy a cell phone with a prepaid card. You can buy a cell phone with the activation card and a prepaid card in any phone store, You should pay no more than EUR 80.00 for an adequately functional phone. You can recharge the SIM at most Belgian ATMs or on-line.
  • The following are service providers in Belgium for Prepaid SIM:

Eat / Drink


Local

Belgian cuisine is widely varied with significant regional variations while also reflecting the cuisines of neighboring France, Germany and the Netherlands. Most dishes are based around meat or fish, and desserts are often rich pastries or chocolate – and it's usually all washed down with wine or, the national drink, beer.

 

  • Popular dishes –
    • Filet Americain (Flemish steak tartar)- Filet Americain is seasoned raw minced beef served cold, rather like the French steak tartare. Various seasonings are added to the beef. You can eat it in two ways: spread on bread or toast (when it's called toast kannibaal or ‘cannibal toast'), or as a main meal, accompanied by frites and pickles.
    • Carbonadeflamandeor stooflees - This sweet-sour steak and ale stew has a great many variations, with families handing down their own recipes from generation to generation. Most include beef, a rich dark beer, bread, onions, salt, pepper, herbs (like bay and thyme) and spices.
    • Stoemp - A traditional Flemish style mashed potato with stewed vegetables mixed inside. Served with a long provincial style sausage that is sometimes more tasty than the stoemp (pronounced “shtomp”).
    • Ham and endive gratin - Ham and endive gratin is a dish that combines endive with a regional cheese and prime boiled ham, traditionally served with mashed potato.
    • Koninginnehapje - Creamy chicken and mushroom puff pastry
    • Hutsepot (Flemish Winter Stew) - This popular Flemish dish goes back centuries with sausages and vegetables, can be savored year-round although it is indeed most popular during cold winters for its heartwarming taste and flavor.
    • Mussels - The most common way to cook them is in white wine, shallots, parsley and butter (la marinere) although other recipes replace the wine with Belgian beer, add cream (la crème), or use a vegetable stock.
    • Sole meunière - Belgium's classic fish dish is sole meunière, the latter part of the name translates as ‘in the way of the miller's wife' – that is, dipped in seasoned flour and then pan-fried in a small amount of butter. Lemon juice and some chopped parsley are added to make a rich brown butter sauce. The fish is served with potatoes: as frites, boiled or mashed.
    • Waffles - There are two different types: the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle. The Brussels waffle is rectangular, golden brown on the outside, dusted with powdered/icing sugar and then sometimes covered with syrup, slices of fruit, chocolate spread and whipped cream – all of which is deemed a mite inauthentic by waffle connoisseurs! The denser textured Liege waffle is square and has burnt sugar on the outside.

 

Some notable restaurants serving the local specialties include: 

Gourmet

  • Zarza 
    • Cuisine: Belgian
    • Awards: In 2009, Zarza won the Bierkok (Beer Chef), an initiative to showcase Flemish Brabant beers and breweries.

 

  • De Tuinkamer 
    • Cuisine: Continental
    • Awards : Michelin-starred

 

 

  • Trente 
    • Cuisine: Continental
    • Awards : Kwinten de Paepe, won the ’Young Flemish Top Chef 2011

Vegetarian

 

 

 

Drink

  • Oude Geuze and Gildenbier remain the most popular beers among locals; residents of other European countries usually know local beer by the name of Stella Artois. This beer has begun its history more than six hundred years ago.
  • During the last weekend of April, Zythos Beerfestival is held, with more than 100 Belgian brewers who produce 500 different types of beer, all in one location.
  • Some of the popular breweries in Leuven are:
    • The Stella Artois brewery is open for visits on Saturdays and Sundays.  The 90 minute visit concludes with a refreshing tasting in the "Den Thuis" bar. The cost is EUR 8.50 per person.
    • The Domus brewery can be visited by appointment. Three homemade beers flow directly from the brewery via a 'pipeline' to the tap installation of Domus. Visit the brewery (30 minutes) with a tasting of 3 beers (30 minutes) at a cost of EUR 10.00 per person.
  • Some of the popular bars and pubs in Leuven are:

;
Banner image credits: glasseyes view