The philosophical garden, arch. Benoît Fondu (2000)

The Romans of antiquity had a term for a certain type of happiness, ‘otium’, which stood in contrast to ‘negotium’ or work. ‘Otium’ meant the capacity not to do anything and thus be free to focus on himself and others. We have laid out our ‘Philosophical Garden’ in order to offer ‘otium’ to our visitors.

Four internationally renowned artists have created the so-called philosophical rooms in this garden: Catherine Beaugrand (F), Marie-Jo Lafontaine (B), Perejaume (Sp) and Bob Verschueren (B). In the ‘Religious Banquet’ Erasmus lingered ‘to study or walk alone or in the company of a friend with whom he was [in conversation]’

As you leave the enclosed garden, you enter another garden which is not laid out in squares, but in flower beds in the shape of leaves. This concept sprang from the imagination of Benoît Fondu. Each ‘leaf’ consists of a botanical sample of the landscapes through which Erasmus traveled during his many journeys. These ‘leaves’ form individual territories which give an overview of the world that Erasmus knew, heterogeneous territories brought together by the architect and four artists: Catherine Beaugrand (F), Marie-Jo Lafontaine (B), Perejaume (Sp) and Bob Verschueren (B). We had four journeys in mind which were important for Erasmus: the Netherlands, London, Rome and Basel. For each of these journeys you can see the landscapes that Erasmus discovered.

Idea : curator Alexandre Vanautgaerden, botanist Georges Mees and architect Benoît Fondu. Two books were published : Alexandre Vanautgaerden Hortus Erasmi and Otium.

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philosophical garden