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My Belgium: Diana Goodwin, Tour Guide

Diana Goodwin

Diana Goodwin is a freelance writer, translator and tour guide with a focus on art, architecture, history and culture.

A British-born American living in Hasselt, the capital of Limburg province, Diana majored in medieval history at Yale, then earned a dual Master’s degree in medieval art history and museum studies at the University of Michigan. She came to Belgium ten years ago and met her husband shortly after arriving here. They married in 2012.

Diana started her website Based In Belgium to share all she was learning about Belgium, in particular its fascinating history and rich culture. She now gives private, custom tours focusing on art, architecture, history and culture.

Let’s find out what Diana Goodwin loves about Belgium:

Favorite city: Hasselt

Hasselt, Belgium

Hasselt is a great place to live because it has a pedestrian-friendly city center, great cycling paths and the Hoge Kempen National Park nearby. I also like going to Brussels, because there’s so much to do and see there.

Favorite restaurant: Il Colosseo

Il Colosseo restaurant in Hasselt

I challenge you to find better wood-fired pizzas anywhere in Belgium than at this cozy restaurant in Hasselt!

Favorite café /bar: Poechenellekelder, Brussels

Poechenellekelder bar in Brussels

I love the crazy decor with all the old puppets, they have a great selection of local beers, and the service is excellent.

Favorite museum: Mayer van den Burgh, Antwerp

I’m a big fan of small house museums, and this one has some real gems in its collection, including Pieter Breugel’s Dulle Griet (Mad Meg, above).

Favorite green area: Japanese Garden, Hasselt

Japanese garden Hasselt

This is the largest Japanese Garden in Europe. The best time to visit is in the spring when the cherry trees are in bloom. Simply stunningly splendid!

Favorite “Quiet area”: Kadettenplein, Hasselt

This is a little hidden courtyard in Hasselt that’s a tiny green oasis in the middle of the city. I love to sit here on a bench, amidst the outdoor sculptures.

Favorite country walk: Hoge Kempen National Park

We enjoy taking our chocolate labrador for walks here. We especially like the Mechelse Heide entrance and trail head in Maasmechelen.

Favorite cycling route: A local Limburg loop

I have a favorite circular route starting from my house that includes Cycling Through Water, the clever bike path through a lake between cycle junctions 91 and 243.

Favorite family activity: Bokrijk

Bokrijk, Belgium

There’s something for everyone, from kids to grandparents, at this outdoor museum in Genk with its old farmhouses, live animals, windmills and taverns. It’s just a fun, beautiful place to spend the day.

Favorite romantic location: Bruges at night

What more can I say about Bruges that hasn’t already been said? If you’ve never been there, go!

Favorite tourist attraction: Historium, Bruges

This places takes you back to the 15th century and the time of Jan Van Eyck. You walk through seven historical themed rooms accompanied by movies, music and special effects. It’s truly outstanding. (I may be biased since I worked on the historical interiors).

Favorite market: Antiques market, Tongeren

I always enjoy a browse here on Sunday mornings. Whether you’re looking for a priceless treasure or a funky flea market find, you’ll probably find it at the weekly Sunday antiques market in Tongeren. It’s the largest in the Benelux!

Thanks Diana for sharing your interesting insights. So if any readers are looking for a private, custom tour of one of the great cities of Belgium, with a special focus on art, architecture, history and culture, you know who to ask. Contact Diana at Based In Belgium!

Diana Goodwin

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16 thoughts on “My Belgium: Diana Goodwin, Tour Guide”

  1. Rather the new and smart multi lingual audio guide tour of the Gravensteen in Ghent, than the surely well intended yet sadly shortfallen Historium.
    Let alone the altogether absence of Ghent in this shortlist.

  2. Some good choices — especially Bokrijk, which is brilliant.

    I don’t live that far from Hasselt. I really should visit the city more often.

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