Fun facts

In a nutshell

Vosselaar is a town of Frankish origin surrounded by forests. After the discovery of a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary (according to the legend) in 1220, the town became a famous pilgrimage.

Source: Provant

The centre of Vosselaar holds a remarkable piece of nature: the Rabbit’s Mountain (“Konijnenberg”).  This crescent-shaped dune lies 36,33 meters above sea level and is the largest drifting dune in the Antwerp Campine region.  The Rabbit’s Mountain has a length of 700 meter and a width ranging from 70-120 meter.  The height of this dark yellow loam drifting dune is variable and indicated on a measuring pole.  The dune and the surrounding area (18 hectares) are supervised by the Monuments and Landscapes group and are mainly owned by the town itself (i.e., not in private hands).  For that reason, access to the area is free for all visitors.
The Rabbit’s Mountain is a perfect playing ground for children (and their parents…) in all seasons. Occasionally, events are being organised on the Rabbit’s Mountain. It goes without saying that this area is one of the main attractions and assets of Vosselaar.

Source: ocmw Vosselaar

Vosselaar, you wished you lived there!

In the Northeast of the province of Antwerp, right in between the towns “Beerse”, “Turnhout”, “Kasterlee”, and “Lille” lies a remarkable town: “Vosselaar” (not to be .confused with another town with a very similar name: “Vorselaar”).  The most important tourist attraction in Vosselaar is the Rabbit’s Mountain (“Konijnberg”), a large crescent-shaped dune forming a green zone right in the middle of town.  This drifting dune with a height of approximately 36 meter is probably the highest in the Antwerp Campine area.

De vos in Vos-selaar – The “Vos” (translation: fox) in “Vosselaar” (literal translation: forest clearing where foxes live)

A bit less high than the Rabbit’s Mountain (“Konijnenberg”) in Vosselaar is the “Looy” or “Vosse” pole, a pole that separates 3 adjacent towns (“Beerse”, “Turnhout”, and “Vosselaar”).  This particular pole is several centuries old and has 3 markings that indentify the 3 different towns: a “B” for “Beerse”, a “T” for “Turnhout”, and a graceful fox tail for “Vosse (fox) laar”. The fox is the town mascot; they even sell fox-shaped chocolates in the town hall.

‘Messentrekkers’ – “Knife pullers” 
The inhabitants of Vosselaar have a strange nickname: the knife pullers (“messentrekkers”).  De origin of this nickname goes back to a fair that was being held in town in the 17th century.  Everyone that lived in Vosselaar apparently came with some money and a knife. One of the attendants was a forester named Adrian Ghys, who started sowing pine tries in the area to prevent the sandy soil to erode any further in order to protect the centre of the town.  He was a true pioneer as it was only in the second half of the 18th that the government launched the official advice to plant additional forest in the Campine area to prevent soil erosion.  The forest where Adrian Ghys started sowing his pine trees, the “Grotenhout” forest, still exists today and is owned by the Flemish Region since 2000.


The name “VOSSELAAR”
The way “Vosselaar” is written has changed a lot over time.  On the Ferraris maps (anno 1771-1778) it mentioned “Voresselaer” but other sources indicate “Vosselaer” (1356), “Vorsterlaer”(1383), “Voirsselaar” (1447), “Vosselaer” (1560), and the current “Vosselaar” (since 1930).

The name “Vosselaar” literally means a clearing in a forest where foxes (“Vossen” in Dutch) live.  Another theory states that all names starting with “Vorsel” could be derived from the word “Vork”.  The word ‘Vork’ is an old Dutch word for pine tree.  The pine tree is the most common type of tree in the Campine region.

Source: IOE (Inventaris Onroerend Erfgoed)

The name “Taxandria” as official name for the region was gradually replaced by the name “Kempen” (the Campine). 
Taxandria is still the most famous ancient name for the region. Taxandria, also called “Toxandria” or “Texondria”, is the name of a shire or county in the Frankish time.  These shires or counties were also known as “pagus” and we thus had a “pagus Flandrensis” (Flemish pagus), a “pagus Bragbatense” (Brabant pagus), and many others.  Over time, Taxandria, a name referring to a political region, was replaced by “de Kempen” (the Campine), a name referring to the fauna and flora found in the region.

Antwerpse Kempen
Antwerpse Kempen

Antwerp Campine
ADAK exhumed a complete courtyard from the Iron Age in Vosselaar.

During August and September (2006) the Archaeological organisation of the Antwerp Campine area (ADAK) conducted research on the allotment Lindenhoeve in Vosselaar (the linden tree farm).  This research led to the discovery of a complete floor plan of a farm from the mid Iron Age.
In order to preserve their discovery, the archaeologists conducted a complete surface covering exhumation over a total of approximately 5000m2 and created not less than 7 working pits.  They discovered a complete floor plan of a farm, 7 smaller buildings, and 4 wells. It is suspected that the farm was inhabited during a single phase in the mid Iron Age (500-250 years BC).  The main findings were shards of locally made handicraft.  The eye catcher of the collection was an almost complete little jar which was found in a well.

Where, when and in which circumstances a commune in our village has arisen and has grown, is determine no longer.
Recent archaeological research has shown that of it in the north of Vosselaar, in the surroundings of the farmhouse Lindenhoeve already in the iron time (- 700 up to – 100) and possibly even former settlements have been.  But at the beginning of our era each form of occupancy disappeared there.

Reconstructie van woningen in de ijzertijd.
Reconstructie van woningen in de ijzertijd.
Reconstructie van een kempens woonerf.
Reconstructie van een kempens woonerf.