Due to renovations in process, BHC will be closed for visitors until April 15.  See you in spring!

Welcome!

BHC welcomes bus tours, large groups and small groups for tours of the Historic District, guided tours of BHC’s campus and custom presentations on and off site.

Group Tours and Presentations

Tour Information Experience Belgian culture and revisit the days of the early pioneers through narrated tours and onsite presentations.  Tours and presentations are customized to the audience and may feature topics such as:

• Belgian immigration, culture and traditions

• The Great Fire of 1871 (Peshtigo Fire)

• Walloon language preservation

• Traditional brick homes, farms, summer kitchens and roadside chapels

• Connection of Belgian community to area religious institutions (Norbertines, National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion)

• Guided tour of the Belgian Heritage Center including the restored school/convent, historic cemetery and St. Roch chapel.

• Lunch featuring traditional Belgian foods can be arranged.  To arrange a tour or presentations, call 920-493-5969 or email tourinfo@belgianheritagecenter.org

Guided Tour Services

A step-on guide will provide a customized tour of the Namur National Historic District, the first rural area in the United States to achieve this designation. See traditional Belgian homes built as early as the 1880’s and visit charming roadside chapels. Experience Belgian food, hear the Walloon language and see significant places in the settlement’s culture and history. Stops are customized and may include roadside chapels, local cemeteries and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion. View Application Form

Namur Historic District

Namur Historic District In 1989/90, the Belgian settlement in and around Namur was listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a National Landmark, the first rural area in the United States to achieve this distinction. As indicated in the Application to the National Park Service:

“In this area Belgian immigrants employed traditional and adapted architectural and construction forms which were distinctive and defined. Traditional Walloon village and agricultural settlement patterns, with a church and related religious features as their nuclei, were transplanted to Wisconsin. The distinctive masonry building traditions of Belgium were retained and adapted, while a large concentration of log buildings reflects the adaptation of American pioneer building materials and methods. Today this enclave reflects an architectural expression that is exceptional in the rural American landscape. While Belgians settled in other parts of America, this region retains the nation's largest known concentration of farmsteads, other rural buildings, and landscape features pertaining to this ethnic group, and has perhaps the purest retention of other distinctive cultural features from the Walloon region of that country.”

 

Roadside Chapels

Roadside Chapels The wayside votive chapels in the Belgian settlement are a religious tradition from the old world. Because settlers made their homes in a wilderness where churches were few and far between, many continued this tradition by building a family chapel devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary or a special saint.

The chapels contain a small altar decorated with religious pictures and statues, flowers and candles. Traditionally, roadside chapels were open to all worshippers and several remain accessible today.

Tours of several roadside chapels and a visit to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion are available. See the brochure below for more information.

Former Convent and School House

Peninsula Belgian American Club Peninsula Belgian American Club Peninsula Belgian American Club
The former St. Mary of the Snows school/convent was built from the wood of an old farmhouse in 1894 and paid for by parishioners donating sacks of grain according to their means.  The building includes the Sister’s living spaces and a classroom that doubles as a worship space where Fr. (later Abbott) Pennings said mass.  In 1964, the Peninsula Belgian American Club took over, preserving the building and a wide range of artifacts related to its Belgian and Catholic history.  The building is now part of the BHC campus and open to the public.

National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion

National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion The National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion is where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared in 1859 to a young Belgian girl. This is where Sister Adele established a chapel and school and began her work to teach the children and inspire the faithful of the settlement area.

In 2010, the apparition was decreed worthy of belief by the Catholic Church, one of about a dozen such sites in the world and the only one in the United States.

Traditional Belgian Lunch

A traditional Belgian lunch is available and may include booyah, trippe, jutt and Belgian pie.

Contact us for details about how your group can be served.

Small Group Tours

National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help Small group tours of the Belgian Settlement area are also available.  A tour guide will lead a driving tour of up to five vehicles providing narration via walkie-talkie.  Tour area and stops will be customized for your group. 

Fee is $10 per participant with a $50 minimum. 

Call 920-493-5969 or email tourinfo@belgianheritagecenter.org to schedule a tour. 

Please schedule at least two weeks in advance.