Cycling along the canal

Every day many hikers and cyclists pass along the towpath of the canal. The canal (‘vaart’ in Flemish) offers them an unhindered route to work, a bike ride with friends or a pleasant ride along a car-free route. A matter-of-course? Not really. Even though the canal is 'just' a feature for us, it was much needed for our Kempen ancestors.

Along the 'de vaART’ (a canal with art) route we take you to the past and present of the Dessel-Turnhout-Schoten canal. Via a dozen artistic objects, including murals and an XL postcard of the old times, vaART illustrates the history of this remarkable canal.

The route yields countless impressive stories. Such as the hard labour of the canal diggers or ‘vaartketsers’ (Flemish term for the men and horses pulling transport boats on the water), the history of the turbulent war years, including trenches, bunkers and emergency bridges or the holiday atmosphere at hotels Wenduine and Westende where on hot summer days a splash in the canal allowed you to cool off.


The VaART route runs along the Dessel - Turnhout - Schoten canal and is only 63 kilometres long. The route follows the cycle nodes network in Schoten, Brecht, Rijkevorsel, Beerse, Turnhout, Oud-Turnhout, Ravels, Arendonk, Retie and Dessel. You can explore the entire route, start at a cycling network node or you make your own bike loop via the network nodes of your choice.

More information

At the bottom of this page you will find the flyer with the overview of all vaART locations. Curious about all the stories and unique visual material? Download the 'vaART' route via the free app