Those who set out early enough in Wortel may cross paths with a timid deer. Here you can relax completely. Near the Belgian-Dutch border, you will find 403 hectares of green avenues, fields and forests. Bootjesven is the perfect spot for a picnic, and Konik horses can be found grazing on the northern heaths. And Wortel also has a story ...

Wortel was originally a free agricultural colony. Poor families lived in separate farmhouses with their own tract of land to work. This was not easy for people without experience. The ground was not very fertile and there were strict rules.

In 1870, the Belgian state bought Wortel. It became an unfree 'agricultural Colony of Benevolence'. Male vagrants and beggars were admitted there and worked under surveillance on the land and in workhouses. Urban planner Victor Besme converted the domain for this purpose.

The vagrant farm dates from this time. Now, children can enjoy a taste of farm life at De Bonte Beestenboel. In the Klapekster you can learn more about nature at Wortel.

There are no more vagrants in Wortel. Farmers cultivate the land, and since 1999 the Colony has been designated a protected landscape.

Wortel, Hoogstraten
Founded on
1822 as a free Colony but later also became unfree
403 ha