TERVUREN, BELGIUM: Sorry but Tervuren is not a world-famous city in Europe or even Belgium, like Brugge or Gent. This is just a small village where we spent 3 years of our time as ex-pats. This is where my elder daughter has been going to school for the past 3 years and my little one started her education-career 6 months ago. After countless long trips and journeys, our home in Tervuren gave us the cozy feeling for the past 3 years. We have become very fond of this little place, especially our Village of Vossem within Tervuren.
Tervuren is a little Flemish town about less than 30 km away from Brussels. The village is pretty well-known among the foreigners for housing many ex-pats families from different countries, especially from the USA and Great Britain. There are two British schools here where hundreds of ex-pats kids come and leave every year.
EATING and SHOPPING: Tervuren City Center is probably where most of the restaurants and good stores are in this village. It’s a shame but we’ve only eaten there once in a pizzeria. But the Friday morning market is a place where I went few times and loved every moment of it. I did my weekly groceries, like fresh produce, cheese, olives, fish, eggs,…and chocolates from here. It’s a beautiful environment and I got to meet locals as well as other ex-pats.
PLACES WE’VE VISITED: We visited almost whole Europe but didn’t even get the chance to properly visit our own village…this is what happens when you procrastinate. But we all will miss this little town very much once we leave Belgium in just a couple of weeks. Hope our daughters will one day come back here again and can remember our old house, their old school, and the neighborhood.
1) CITY CENTER: Tervuren City Center is small but a perfect place to hang around for shopping or meal. I have never been inside Tervuren Church, but it looks pretty old and a historic building here. The new modern City Hall building is located across the church.
2) ROYAL MUSEUM of CENTRAL AFRICA: This is one of the main highlights of Tervuren. Since Congo was by colonized by Belgium at one point and there was a dominance of Europe over whole of Africa, this museum carries stories of Africa, especially highlighting on Congo. Different sections and displays share the brief period of the history of that colonization of Congo by Belgium. Many paintings, statues/sculptures, photos, artifacts, and life-size animals (not alive) are there to enjoy for both children and adults. There is also a small section for children to do some hands-on-experiments.
The building of this museum itself is very grand and royal-looking. Tervuren Park is located right opposite of the museum on the other side. There was a temporary exhibitions going on when we were there in the Royal Museum. It was called “Spiders Alive” where a whole room full of different species of spiders were brought in glass boxes. The kids had a blast in that room and learned a lot too.
The museum has been closed for renovation since last year, summer of 2013 and as planned, it will open to the visitors in 2016. When we were there last year, the ticket was 3 euros per adults and kids under 6 were free. Not sure how this is going to change once the renovation is done and the museum has more rooms and displays in the coming years. At that time there was nothing written in English, all in Dutch and French. It took little more than hour to look around the museum. There is a train station across the museum and also a nice big parking lot for cars.
3) TERVUREN PARK: We have been to Tervuren Park only a few times, but the best one has to be when my elder daughter and I went there on an early morning of fall (in 2012). I don’t think I have ever seen such beauty of fall colors before. We were there a little before sunrise. All the park benches, fallen leaves, and sculptures were wet with morning dew. Different shades of orange and yellow colors of the leaves started shinning and sparkling with the first ray of dawn. It was a fantastic experience for both my daughter and I.
Sonian Forest is a big forest area (if not the biggest) in Belgium. Tervuren Park has a small portion of that forest surrounding it from every direction. It’s a nice getaway to the forest and majestic oaks, elegant French gardens, ponds, and flower beds. There are some historic buildings in or around this park – one is Spanish House and the other one is Royal Palace. I have been to none of them actually, just saw the Royal Palace from distance which hosts concerts and big events in this area.
Tervuren Park is a great area for the hikers, bikers, joggers, or for those who love to bring a blanket and basket of food with loved ones and enjoy it beside the lake. I even saw many people sitting by the lake with fishing poles.