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Up my street: The Bulletin's neighbourhood guide to Neder-Over-Heembeek

20:31 22/10/2018

Neder-Over-Heembeek was created by the union of Lower (Neder) and Upper (Over) Heembeek in the early 19th century. It’s part of the City of Brussels but a different world. The historic centre is architecturally interesting with its castle ruins, ancient churches and the Kluis: a medieval hospice built in 1487 by the Lord of Neder-Heembeek to provide individual housing for five elderly residents.

The western portion of the villages consists of woods, streams, fields and orchards that make for pleasant walks through constantly changing surroundings (Le Soir has a suggested itinerary taking in some of the highlights). One Belgian resident who’s lived here for six years described it to The Bulletin as “friendly and green; the country way of life close to the town”.

A popular spot for locals and those visiting from elsewhere is La Ferme Nos Pilifs: founded to help children with autism, it’s grown to offer adapted work to people with disabilities. It’s home to an animal park, a brewery, a cafe and events such as a late summer tomato festival, as well as sales of plants, seeds and Christmas trees. It also hosts children’s parties.

A Facebook group connects residents and publicises local events, while community centre Nohva hosts a variety of activities including karaoke sessions, repair cafes, craft and cooking workshops and skating lessons. Neder-Over-Heembeek is also home to Royal 1865, a famous old rowing club that’s open to new members of all abilities. Also on the water, the Port of Brussels has opened a new passenger terminal for river cruise ships. The €5.2 million terminal provides docking for ships that are too large to use the central Brussels canal.

According to property website Immoweb, you can find a large family home with garden, backing on to fields, for less than €350,000; the same amount will also secure a five-bedroom renovated townhouse with south-facing terrace. Rentals here are also good value compared to other parts of the city. The rental market is almost exclusively apartments, many of them newly built, renovated or passive, with prices ranging from €750 to €950 a month for between one and three bedrooms.

Trams 3 and 7 skirt the neighbourhood’s southern border with Laeken, while buses 47 (De Brouckère-Vilvoorde) and 53 (Dielegem-Hôpital Militaire) both pass through.

Favourite spots

Sortilège adventure playground • Friterie Chez Jef on Place Peter Benoît • Caveau Saint-Emilion wine shop • Le Mandarin Chinois Chinese restaurant, Per Passione Italian restaurant and artisan bakery Le Clermont (all on Rue François Vekemans) • Brussels Basketball club • Trassersweg country road • Val du Bois des Béguines

Positives

  • Countryside atmosphere & active community
  • Property is good value
  • Close to ring
  • Lots of space and greenery

Negatives

  • Limited accommodation to rent
  • Limited public transport
  • Lacks bars, restaurants and coffee shops
  • Many administrative tasks require a visit to the Boulevard Anspach office in the city centre

 

Written by Sally Tipper