Even a small area of unspoiled nature can hide a wealth of plant and insect life. The Erps-Kwerps Vijvers are a perfect example.
If you travel by train from Brussels to Leuven, at around halfway you may catch a brief glimpse of water from the window on your left-hand side. There’s just a few seconds to notice a few ducks dabbling. Or a heron standing like a scarecrow in the shallows. But as soon as the water appears, it’s gone.
You may not have realized it, but you’ve just seen the Erps-Kwerps Vijvers, or Erps-Kwerps Ponds. I must have passed them scores of times while on the train home from a meeting in Brussels. And every time I’ve said to myself: “I really must check those out.”
Well, finally I have.
WHAT AND WHERE IS ERPS-KWERPS?
Thankfully it’s not the name of a new disease (Erps-Kwerps-20 virus). Nor something invented by two Czech mathematicians (the Erps-Kwerps equation to measure turbulence). It’s a village. Actually it used to be two villages (Erps and Kwerps) but in 1977 they fused. It’s now part of the municipality of Kortenberg.
A quick note on pronunciation. Erps-Kwerps is not pronounced as chirps or perps, but more like squares or stairs. Here is an audio clip to help you. Unfortunately the speaker is speaking the (to my ears) harsher Dutch from the Netherlands rather than (at the risk of offending my Dutch friends) the softer and more pleasant Flemish spoken in Belgium.
The Erps-Kwerps Vijvers are accessed from the Lodewijk van Veltemstraat. There’s a car parking area just down the road. Or you could chain up your bike to the noticeboard. (You could even wheel your bike to the Vijvers). Or you could walk there from Erps-Kwerps train station. Here’s my photo reportage.
This is just a glimpse into this place. I could show you more photos; I took 160 in total. But my aim isn’t to show you everything you can see, but to give you a taster; to tweak your interest in the Erps-Kwerps Vijvers and encourage you to go there yourself.
It’s not a place to go for a long walk. From the entrance to the bird hide it’s only 600 meters. It’s a place to be still. To watch and observe. To crouch down and enter the world of plants and insects that we often simply pass by. But you will need to slow down. A quick cursory glance won’t suffice. You’ll need to stop, wait and observe. A valuable lesson for us all – adults or children.
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And here’s another place worth visiting in the neighbourhood. This too is a place to sit and observe, and enjoy the wonders of this glorious world around us.