MUSEUM OF WATER AND FOUNTAINS by Ginny Suter
Ginny wrote numerous articles for Plug-In Belgium and Internationals in Belgium in the late 1990s early 2000's and presented a weekly radio programme for a local radio station in the Brussels Waterloo area.
In a place famous for water falling from the sky, I always wondered why Belgium lacked fountains, lakes and, especially in Brussels, a river. So I was thrilled to find the Museum of Water and Fountains, where old fountains and water pumps have been lovingly restored.
Tucked behind the Chateau du Lac hotel, on lake Genval, the museum's building was once intended as a health and thermal centre. The failed venture was taken over by Schweppes and became part of the bottling plant and later an annexe of the Hotel du Lac. Until hotel Chairman, John Martin saw an article by Jean Pierre Courtois, a life-time fountain collector who had been looking for a suitable location for his collection. Voila! Synergy at its best. The paved setting and arched labyrinth perfectly lends itself to the iron orphans, carefully fostered over the years and now taking pride of place.
A source of life, the history of water is interestingly documented throughout the museum, and spans its journey across the world from primitive wells to modern dams. Old photos of pumps and fountains in action, the centre of village life or the subtle serenity of some Romanesque garden, are enlarged to larger than life proportions.
The sounds of tinkling water, (try to go when it's not too crowded), lend a monastic tranquillity, as was the intention when the Chateau was built to emulate a Rhenish monastery.
Soon the scene will be enhanced by the 6th annual Exhibition of Orchids and Bonzais, over the Easter weekend. It certainly will be more crowded then. Last year there were 5,500 visitors during the three day exhibition.
L'Musée de l'Eau and de la Fontaine, is at 63, Ave Hoover, 1332 Genval and open at weekends and public holidays, from 10.00am-6.00pm. Group visits during the week can be arranged. For information and bookings call Jenny Farmer on tel : (number deleted from this re-print).
©Ginny Suter - April 1998
Original article appearing in "Internationals in Belgium" Dick Suter was an editor of the magazine and contributor and Ginny Suter was a regular contributor in the late 1990's and 2000's - The magazine had a circulation of 10,000 Please note that this article was first published many years ago and telephone and fax numbers are likely to be out of date and email addresses have been removed.
Source of images, unless otherwise stated - Suter family archives