Few parts of Europe are as good for walking as Sint-Martens-Latem in Belgium, southwest of Ghent. The Lys, a tributary of the Scheldt, borders the two charming villages of Deurle and Latem. With a relaxing rural setting, the area has been a haven for artists since the late 19th century. Many workshops can be visited today, as well as museums. Ideal for a cultural outing in an authentic setting, the region, with its unspoiled natural beauty, is very popular with walkers and cyclists.
A region popular with artists
The expressionist and symbolist movements gave the school of Sint-Martens-Latem its reputation at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Several artists settled on the banks of the Lys as far back as 1898, including painters, sculptors and poets. Inspired by the Flemish primitives, they produced works that paid tribute to the beauty of the surrounding natural landscapes. A second colony of artists, from 1905, joined Sint-Martens-Latem, among which were painters representative of Flemish expressionism, such as Constant Permeke. They did not leave the area until shortly before the First World War.
The museums of the Sint-Martens-Latem School
The region has a number of remarkable museums that are well worth visiting. This is certainly the case in Deinze, which contains many works by those artists who came to live on the banks of the Lys at the beginning of the 20th century. This period of great creativity can be traced through several series of photographs.
The most beautiful collections of Sint-Martens-Latem can be found in the Dhondt-Dhaenens museum. Opened in 1967 in a building featuring modern architecture, the museum houses many exceptional pieces, including works by Gustave van Woestijne, Jean Brusselmans and Constant Permeke.
Also noteworthy is the Gust De Smet municipal museum, which served as a studio for this figure of Flemish expressionism, and the Leon De Smet museum.
Visit Latem and Deurle
Agricultural regions for most of the twentieth century, today Latem and Deurle are appreciated for the beauty of their living environment. Many people from Ghent, seduced by the sumptuous landscapes of the region, come and settle there. With ENGEL & VÖLKERS, you can find exceptional properties in this beautiful region south of Ghent.
Discover the region by bike
The banks of the Lys are full of walking trails and cycle paths. Tours are available for long excursions in the heart of nature. Perfectly marked out, the paths are ideal for a pleasant stroll along on this flat ground. Many walks are accessible from the village of Deurle.
Practical information/Getting there
To visit the region, just take the E40 motorway to Ostend to exit 14. From there, take the N43 to Sint-Martens-Latem.
More information: Toerisme Oost-Vlaanderen: Web: www.tov.be