Cities & towns

Belgium is blessed with beautiful and historically interesting cities. Gent, Bruges, Brussels, Liege, Antwerp, Mechelen … here are a few posts that recommend places to visit in some of these cities. The “How to Spend a Day in …” series is a good place to start.

Memorials and watermills in Rebecq

The museum display includes the tailplane of the Lancaster

Until May 29th, in the village of Rebecq, 25 km south-west of Brussels, the local museum is hosting an exhibition to commemorate the loss of an RAF Lancaster shot down over the village in the Second World War. During the night of 27/28 May 1944, the Lancaster was returning from a bombing mission over Aachen when it was attacked by a German night-fighter. The Lancaster, which belonged to 550 Squadron, crashed at Rebecq. Five crew were killed and are buried in Evere cemetery, Brussels; two crew survived.

The memorial to the RAF Lancaster which was shot down over Rebecq in 1944

On May 7th this year a memorial to the crash victims was unveiled and dedicated in Rebecq. Representatives of RAF 550 Squadron Association were present at the ceremony, along with guests from the UK, Canada and Italy. The display at the museum includes part of the tailplane on which one of the wounded airmen was carried to the local hospital. It was found in a loft when part of the building was demolished recently.Read More »Memorials and watermills in Rebecq

Peregrine falcons in Brussels 2014

April 2014 update: Four eggs laid, three hatched and the youngsters doing well! Click here for a live link to the video stream!

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April 2013 update: The peregrines are back in the cathedral tower, and the female has already laid her eggs and is brooding them. You can see a live webcam of the nest here. Read the article below for background information onthese great birds, in the middle of Brussels.

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April 2012 update: this year’s eggs have just hatched: click and watch this video.

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Check out this great video (April 2011) of the peregrine falcon chicks in the center of Brussels!

St. Michael and St. Gudula’s Cathedral, Brussels

If you think that the only city birds present in Brussels are pigeons, jackdaws and those flashily feathered but annoyingly noisy parakeets, then you are in for a big surprise. Breeding in one of the busiest areas of the city is a pair of one of the most exciting birds in the world.

The area in question centres on St. Michael and St. Gudula’s Cathedral. In 2005 — to the delight of ornithologists — a pair of peregrine falcons nested on one of the cathedral’s towers, where they successfully raised four young. In 2006 three eggs were laid, although only one chick survived. Since then a pair of peregrines has returned every year – and 2011 is no exception (see video above).Read More »Peregrine falcons in Brussels 2014