The grounds used to be private property of Elisabeth Willems, Viscountess de Spoelberch. their descendants kept the castle as private residence. The arboretum was started in 1984, as an extension of the dendrological collections of Philippe de Spoelberch, (great grandson of Elisabeth Willems) to the north of his estate of Herkenrode.
In 2007, the arboretum and its collections were donated to the Foundation Arboretum Wespelaar which was set up to guarantee the future of the collections and arrange for their opening to the public in 2011. Some 2000 different taxa can be seen on the 20 hectare grounds.
The arboretum brings together trees and shrubs from around the world which can survive in the temperate Belgian climate. Arboretum Wespelaar houses many woody species large and small, including common and rare species, especially those that are threatened in the wild.
Some genera are particularly well represented: Acer, Magnolia, Rhododendron and Stewartia. In addition to these, you will find good collections of other genera such as: Betula, Carpinus, Euonymus, Ilex, Tilia, Viburnum, Quercus, Styrax etc.
Arboretum Wespelaar is a member of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, an international non-profit organisation that exists to ensure the worldwide conservation of threatened plants.
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