Nature as a source of inspiration for the Flemish Masters

Peter Paul Rubens - A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning
Nature is never far away in Flanders. Just a few minutes from your conference location, your delegates can find greenery to their heart's content. The same also applies for art and heritage in Flanders. So enrich your conference on nature with a dash of Flemish masters, for example by including a museum visit in your social programme. Want to bet that your delegates will appreciate the outing?

Indeed, the link between Flemish nature and Flemish painters has deep historical roots. Van Eyck, Rubens and Bruegel were only too happy to be inspired by the greenery around them.

The Meuse Valley inspired Hubert (ca. 1366--1426) and Jan van Eyck (ca. 1390--1441)

The Eyck brothers are best known for the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, the Ghent Altarpiece, which can be admired in Ghent. Their incredible eye for detail and their talent for reproducing all of this detail are unprecedented. For instance, in the background of the central panel, they painted over 75 species of flowers, plants and trees. If you look closely, you can recognise daisies, violets, clovers and lilies-of-the-valleys. Some plants – such as the solomon seal and the meadow rockfoil – can only be found in the Meuse Valley, where the brothers were born.


The Pajottenland was the favourite setting of Pieter Bruegel (1525-1569)

The hilly Pajottenland has charmed many a hiker and cyclist. Bruegel also had a fondness for this idyllic region and incorporated many typical elements into his paintings. On the signposted Bruegel walk and Bruegel cycle route, you discover the universe of the painter. For example, you will pass the chapel of Sint-Anna-Pede in Itterbeek, which can be seen on the work “The Blind leading the Blind”. And the restored water mill of Sint-Gertrudis-Pede can be seen on “The Magpie on the Gallows”.


The Zenne Valley was put on canvas by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

In the last years of his life, Rubens retreated to his country house in Elewijt. That building – then called “de Heerlijkheid Het Steen” – is now known as the Rubens Castle. The surroundings inspired the master to produce a series of beautiful landscape paintings. The best-known work is “A view of Het Steen in the Early Morning”. In it you can recognise the gently rolling landscape of the Zenne Valley. The little wooden bridge in the painting still exists, and the current castle also bears many similarities to Het Steen where Rubens spent his last days.

Peter Paul Rubens - A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning

Free inspiration for your next conference

A successful conference is one that inspires. That’s why we offer you here tons of inspiration. For a conference in your domain, for your conference in Flanders.