Flemish Brabant Hiking in Belgium Towns & Villages

Brueghel Walk, Sint-Anna-Pede

Guest blogger: Pierre, a 29-year old Frenchman who has been living in Brussels for three years. He’s interested in history, literature and nature.

Brueghel’s painting (1568) with the church in the background

It seems unbelievable, but it is true! You look once, twice, three times at Pieter Brueghel’s painting The Blind Leading the Blind, and then at the present-day church of Sint-Anna-Pede, a village in Itterbeek, and you realise the surprising similarity. But that is not so astonishing when you realise that Brueghel lived part of his life in the Brussels area ‘Les Marolles’ and is buried in the neighbourhood church of Notre Dame de la Chapelle. According to legend, he enjoyed going to the countryside close to this western part of Brussels and naturally he got inspired for several landscapes of his paintings.

The church of Sint-Anna-Pede today

I would strongly recommend the 7 km Brueghel Walk that mixes nature and art. It helps you discover this region of Flemish Brabant called Pajottenland (also described as Belgium’s “Northern Tuscany”), along the Pede River valley. The walk is also cultural because a dozen reproductions of Brueghel paintings are located along the path and show the similarities between art pieces and reality.

The walk starts from Sint-Anna-Pede church where you can park your car or be dropped by De Lijn bus number 118. At the end of the trip, you can refresh yourself in the café in front of the church.

For the kids – it is very interesting of course to look for the similarities between 15th century paintings and the landscapes of modern Brabant. The walk is easy, among fields, with views of gardens, cows and small lakes. It is quite short and could be even shortened further if needed.

Extra info: Brochure/map of the walk: Folder-Bruegelwandeling

Video of the walk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXjxn-YQqko

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