56 Route 10. ST. NICOLAS.
b. Waesland Railway.
31 M. Railway in 1V4-2 hrs.; the crossing of the Schelde at Antwerp
takes V2 hr. more (fares 4>/2, 3, or 2 fr.). Carriages bad. This is the di¬
rect route. Travelers from Ostend or Bruges intending to take this route,
book to Ghent only, where they take a fresh ticket at the station of the
Waesland line, 1 31. from that of the state-railway.
The train starts from the Station d'Anvers. Immediately on the
right is the new Beguinage (p. 47). This line traverses the Waes¬
land, or Pays de Waes, one of the most populous (about 700 pers.
to the sq. M.), highly-cultivated, and productive districts in Europe.
During the civil wars in Flanders, the Waesland was a sterile moor,
but at the present day every square yard is utilised. The train tra¬
verses arable land, pastures, gardens, woods, and plantations in
rapid succession, while comfortable farm-houses and thriving vil¬
lages are seen at intervals. It is said that the attention usually de¬
voted to a garden or a flower-bed is here given to every field; for the
natural soil, being little better than sand, requires to be artificially
covered with garden-soil. The agriculture of this tract is therefore
worthy of the notice of farmers. In other respects the country is
4 M. Loochristy, with an old chateau; 7 M. Beirvelde. 12 M.
Lokeren (Hotel du Miroir, in the Grand' Place; Hotel des Stations)
is a manufacturing town with 17,500 inhabitants. The Church of
St. Lawrence contains some ancient and modern works of art. Ex¬
tensive bleaching-grounds in the vicinity. Lokeren is the junction
of the lines to Dendermonde and Alost (see p. 55), and to Selzaete
(p. 10). 15V2 M. Mille-Pommes.
19'/2 M. St. Nicolas (Quatre Sceaux, in the market; Miroir),
a pleasant - looking town with 25,600 inhab. , is the busiest
manufacturing place in the Waesland. In the market-place, V2 M-
from the station, are situated the new Hotel de Ville, a handsome
building in the Flemish Renaissance style, containing a collection
of antiquities from the Waesland, and several mediaeval dwelling-
houses. The Church of St. Nicolas was completed in 1696. The
church of Notre Dame, built by Overstraeten in 1844, contains
well-executed mural paintings by Guffens and Swerts, the first
attempts at frescoes in Belgium (p. 71). — A branch-line runs from
St. Nicolas to Hamme and Dendermonde (p. 55). Near St. Nicolas
the train crosses the Malines and Terneuzen railway (p. 123).
22 M. Nieukerken. I&/0 M. Beveren, a wealthy village with
7000 inhab. and an interesting church, with a tomb of 1540, is not¬
ed for its lace. 28Y2 M. Zwyndrecht, where the train passes the
outlying fort of that name on the right and a rampart extending to
Fort Ste. Marie on the left. At Vlaamsch-Hoofd or Tete de Flandre,
the tete-de-pont of Antwerp, on the left bank of the Schelde, a
steam ferry-boat awaits the arrival of the train (p. 123).
During the Siege of Antwerp (1832) the Dutch succeeded in cutting
through the embankment above Tete-de-Flandre, in consequence of which
the entire surrounding district, lying considerably below high-water mark,