Saturday 23 03 2024
Event code
10 am
Meeting point
Maaseik, Grote Markt, at the statue of the Van Eyck brothers
€ 55
Non- members
€ 60
Max Attendees
Registration closes on
March 17
Emile De Backer & Peter Dufaux
Rescue Phone
0474 566 187 (Emile) - 0495 329 003 (Peter)

Please find driving directions below the main text

Bank account of “National Trust Belgium” (NTAB)
BE17 0016 2443 2021

Maaseik and Thorn, two charming border towns on the meandering river Meuse

Maaseik, located on the Maas at the easternmost point of the province of Limburg, is a town with a rich past. A multitude of objects of great cultural-historical value are exhibited in several museums. However, the city enjoys most fame as the (presumed) birthplace of the brothers Jan and Hubert Van Eyck, two of the most important representatives of the “Flemish Primitives”, a Renaissance painting school at the court of the Dukes of Burgundy in Brugge.

We meet for the day’s outing around their statue on the Grote Markt (market square).


Statue of the Van Eyck brothers, Maaseik

In the morning we have a guided tour (EN – NL) through the historical center of Maaseik and a visit to the pharmacy museum.

On the beautiful market square and in the surrounded streets, you will find many houses and monuments built in the “Maasland Renaissance style”, a 17th- and 18th-century architectural style mainly found in Dutch and Belgian Limburg.

The pharmacy museum, housed in “Den Blauwe Leeuwe” contains the oldest preserved private pharmacy in Belgium (1704 – 1959).

The treasury of St. Catherine’s Church contains, among other things, the oldest Anglo-Saxon religious vestments in Europe and the “Codex Eyckensis”, the oldest preserved illuminated book in the Benelux.

During the 2nd half of the 18th century, Maaseik and its surrounding area were made unsafe by a gang of robbers, the “Bokkenrijders” (Goat buck riders). Their fast and successful raids led to the popular belief that they could move in the sky at night sitting on the backs of goat bucks.

Lunch will be served at the restaurant “De Leeuwerik” (the lark), Leeuwerikenstraat 80, Maaseik. Two courses with one drink and coffee/tea – vegetarians and other diets please notify at registration.

The restaurant is located on the banks of the river Meuse.

At 2.30pm, we are expected in Thorn for a guided tour (EN- NL) of the town and a visit to the abbey church.

Thorn, a postcard village on the Meuse.

With its whitewashed houses along narrow cobbled streets, Thorn evokes a Mediterranean atmosphere. Given some sunshine and a blue sky, you could easily imagine yourself in a Spanish town.

Around 990, Ansfried, Count of Huy and Bishop of Utrecht, founded a monastery for Benedictines on a hill close to the Meuse. From the 12th century onwards, Thorn Abbey developed into a prosperous, secular convent in which only unmarried ladies from the highest level of nobility (the convent ladies) could enter.

For almost eight hundred years, Thorn was a small principality ruled entirely by twenty noble monastic ladies who had their own jurisdiction and their own currency. During this period Thorn grew, with the Gothic abbey church and many stately buildings, including the canonesses’ houses in which the noble ladies lived being added.

The invasion by the French army in 1794 led to an end of this period of prosperity, however the French occupation is also responsible for the present appearance of this “postcard village”.

The white village of Thorn

How to get there:

It is virtually impossible to reach Maaseik within an acceptable time by public transport . The organizers greatly appreciate it if members/participants declare their willingness to facilitate carpooling as much as possible or indicate that they are willing to offer participants a lift.

By car:
From Brussels: E40 and E314, take exit 32 (Genk Oost) and follow N75 and N78 to Maaseik.
From Antwerp: E313 and E314

Parking in Maaseik:

Parking along the streets is limited to 2 hours, use one of the following long-term parking spaces.

  • P3: Kloosterbempden 16 (underground).
  • P1 (Bospoort): Plantage 9 (street level).
    Both € 1/h – first 2 hours free.
Parking in Thorn:

Parking along the streets is not permitted, use one of the long-term parking spaces below

  • Meers
  • Waterstraat
    Day ticket: € 3 (minimum charge € 3! for both).

All parking lots are a short distance (5 min. walk) from the meeting points.