Verbeke Foundation

Top choice in Northwest Belgium

Occupying a 12-hectare former industrial site, this is one of Europe's largest private contemporary-art initiatives. The indoor-outdoor interactive gallery illuminates then blurs the boundaries between art and science, in the context of humanity's relationship to nature. The sheer volume and nature of the collection defies easy description; exhibits range from a larger-than-life fibreglass cat's anus, which you can sleep in for the night, to 'living' eco-art and commentaries on US presidents.

One of the foundation's mottoes is 'copyright is for losers' – you're free to photograph whatever you like and are encouraged to share your experiences and reactions to the eclectic, privately funded collection.

There's a range of accommodation options here; overnighters are free to roam the premises. See the website for information.

A product of the love and labour of entrepreneur, collector and philanthropist Geerte Verbeke and his wife Carla Verbeke-Lens, the gallery opened its doors in 2007 on the site of Verbeke's former transport company. Since 2018, the foundation has been powered by solar energy, with a view to operating at 100 per cent environmental sustainability. Recycling and repurposing is at the core of its ethos.

It's located just off the highway 12km north of St Niklaas. Take the A11 between Antwerp and Bruges to exit 11–Kemzeke, then follow the signs.

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