Park Vordenstein in Schoten in the Province of Antwerp received a Green Flag Award in 2020. It was also voted into the top ten of best parks in the world.
So Tim and I went to explore. I went in June with Oriol. In December, the park had a very different vibe.
Park Vordenstein domain was created it the 14th century out of the Hof ter Katen and the Hof van de Werve. It was purely functional.
Starting in the 18th century, the domain gradually evolved into a recreational estate with a castle and an extensive pleasure garden, owned by a succession of wealthy families from Antwerp as a countryside retreat.
In 1980 the majority of the park was eventually bought by the Belgian state, and subsequently opened to the public. A smaller part in the middle of the domain remains privately owned by the De Pret family that inherited the domain at the beginning of the 20th century.
Vordenstein mixes French and English garden culture. In the southeast lies the vegetable garden and the Orangerie, which was built in the early 19th century, and is now used as a cafe. The forests in the northwest and the east were only planted at the end of the 19th century on what had been land used for farming.
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