In 2019, it will be 450 years since Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s death. This will be commemorated at various locations, under initiatives from Toerisme Vlaanderen (The Flemish Tourism Agency). And that includes Bokrijk – The Open-Air Museum will start the celebration on 6 April 2019 with a grand temporary Bruegel Exhibition (The “Bruegelexpo”), which will immerse you in this famous Flemish Master’s world.
Thanks to an inspiring route, an interactive game or theatre performance, you will see life through Bruegel glasses next summer.
Inspired by Bruegel
In the museum you will find a unique collection of more than 120 historical buildings and numerous objects originating from different Flemish regions and time periods, which have been re-located in Bokrijk. The museum has been listed as a protected monument since 1996. Even at the time of its construction before it opened in 1958, Bruegel's powerful influence on the open-air museum was tangible.
Bruegel and Bokrijk... the connection is more obvious than you might think! This lively open-air activity-centred museum focuses on people’s daily lives in the past, now and in the future. And ‘ordinary’ people are central in Bruegel's works too. When among the more than 120 historical buildings and collection pieces at Bokrijk, you can really feel as if you are in a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. And that is exactly what the first curator, Dr. Jozef Weyns, had in mind when forming and establishing the Bokrijk Museum in 1958. Jozef Weyns was largely inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. You can feel and see that in the surroundings, the landscape and in two historic buildings at the Open-Air Museum. For example, the Vorselaar house-barn-stable was intentionally assembled as an example of the type of 16th-century farmhouse that we see in Bruegel's paintings. The Oil mill of Ellikom (Meeuwen-Gruitrode) was originally located near the house that was thought to have been Pieter Bruegel’s birthplace, and Weyns purchased it for that reason.
Bruegel Trail ‘The world of Bruegel’
The Bruegel Trail ‘The world of Bruegel’ will let you discover Bruegel in Bokrijk. The stilt walker guides you on your journey. The trail has stops at eight locations in the Open-Air Museum, each with a really tangible connection to Bruegel.
Who was Pieter Bruegel the Elder? What do his works tell us about daily life in the 16th century? And how does his oeuvre translate into the present day? You will become familiar with original 16th century objects, things from Bruegel’s time, and discover the meaning behind the landscapes and scenes he depicts in his works. Like no other, this artist had the gift to capture ordinary people with all their particularities. The trail takes you into the world of the famous painting ‘The Fight between Carnival and Lent’. At the end of the trail, you literally step into this work and become one of the extras.
Are you out with the children? If so, you can also cover the six stops along the Bruegel Trail “gamely” together! In the interactive Bruegel Game the jester from the painting ‘The battle between Carnival and Lent’ leads you and your family on a digital rope. (From 6 years)
Bruegel Summer Theatre ‘Bravo Mr Bruegel’
In the summer, from 11 July to 1 September 2019, the Laika Theatre Company will present a family show here every day, following the example of rhetoricians of yesteryear. “People” play the central role in this humorous story.