Places to picnic
This narrow street, which starts with a gate in the Gasthuisstraat, used to lead to the ‘hofken’ (small garden) Groenetidaal located in the Driezenstraat. In the Turnhout dialect, an alley or narrow street is called a ‘poort’ (gate). The street was popularly called the Hofpoort (garden gate) and that name has survived.
In the middle of the street is a public garden. This small city park is an ideal place for some peace and quiet, a hidden spot in the centre of Turnhout. You will find a number of large wooden seat constructions and play objects here. A special feature is a Ginkgo Biloba (Japanese Nut Tree) can be found in the garden. This is a rare, unique tree and the only survivor of a primitive species. The tree endured because it was cultivated in the gardens of the Chinese palace. Around 1700 it was introduced as a park tree in Europe.
Source: DE KOK, H. and LANDUYT, L. (2009), Turnhout in street names, Turnhout, Bepols Publishers.
Begijneveldekens Park was officially opened in 2014. The park is a surprising piece of green between the marshalling yard of the NMBS (Belgian National Railways) and the Begijnendreef. It is divided into two large zones. One zone caters for sports, and to play and meet. It accommodates a Finnish running track, the Jailyard skating ground, a fenced playground and a cosy neighbourhood square with seating. The other zone is a landscaped open meadow. With the addition of the park Turnhout is again a richer, greener area.
Heizijdse Velden Park & the Stadsboerderij (city farm)
Between different residential clusters, the city council set up a new park where it is possible to play football, relax and play. There are lawns for sunbathing, open fields, allotment gardens, an orchard, a dog play meadow, and even a waterhole... Every new home in the area has to donate a piece of land to expand the park, and so the park grows with the neighbourhood.
In 2008, the City of Turnhout bought an old, run-down farm along the Veldekensweg, in the middle of the Heizijdse Velden (fields). Meanwhile, the farm has been renovated into a Stadsboerderij (City farm) that combines a petting zoo with a care farm. The Stadsboerderij includes a vegetable garden with forgotten vegetables from pastimes, a self-harvest garden, a snack garden, a herb garden and a sensory garden. In addition, there are a large number of animals and there is room for a wriemelbeestjeshoek (wriggling little creatures corner), an insect wall, a bee hotel...
Spooreinde Park is a temporary park in the Turnhout station area. The former industrial grounds are being transformed into a new urban area with space for (care) living, working and commercial functions. The park is part of the structural plan of NV SLIM Turnhout. This unique project aims to create a caring living environment for residents through social innovation. In addition, technological innovation is also important. The construction of 'Niefhout' has already been realised on NV SLIM Turnhout's first site. Here, the first heating network was installed in the Kempen. There are advantages not only on an ecological but also on an economic level. In anticipation of further development, the rest of the site has been transformed into a green park with space for sports and games.
The residents were involved several times in the design and layout of the park. This now offers space for a football field, a basketball court, petanque fields and benches. In the summer, the park is also the location of Panorama Zomerbar (a summer bar). Newer still is the exercise garden where you can freely move in the open air.
Garden of the Natuurpunt Museum
Behind the building of the Natuurpunt Museum lies a surprisingly deep garden. It is designed as a natural garden, forming a green lung in the centre of the city. The garden still contains many original elements, especially wood crops such as the monumental incense cypress. New elements have also been added, including the insect corner with a bee hotel and an educational pool. This pool is fed with the roof water from the building. A flower meadow has been sown along the path. A rock garden was built with the debris of the broken up parking ground. Woodpiles provide protection and wintering places for small mammals.
If you stop at the caviar experience bank, at the Oude Kaai, you will learn a lot about this exclusive Turnhout regional product. On site, you can discover the story of this delicacy 'from egg to egg' on the information board.
The Turnhout Atelier 20+03 made a unique design for the experience bank. If you look closely, you will discover a sturgeon, the mother fish, in the design.