Bokrijk is an open air museum in the tradition of Skansen, which reflects the social history and material culture of the Flemish provinces of Belgium. It was largely the creation of Dr J Weyns, its first director. It is part of the 540 ha Domein (i.e.estate) Bokrijk, which was acquired by the Province of Limburg in 1938 and is now a recreational centre, of which the museum forms one element.
Construction began in 1953 and the public were first admitted five years later. More than a hundred buildings are groups in hamlets typifying various parts of Flanders, including a group of 16th and 17th century urban houses from Antwerp. Many of the buildings are from rural areas, they include not just farmhouses, some of which have tools for processing flax, but also a hut from the sandy heath lands of Koersel, and a house from Eksel once the home of Teutens, people who migrated each summer from Limburg to work in North Germany and Denmark. More strictly industrial buildings include two horse mills, a tower mill, two post mills, a water corn mill from Lummen-Rekhoven with an undershot wheel, and a water-powered oil mill with a horizontal crushing wheel of 1702. There are several bakehouses and a hop oven or oasthouse from West Flanders. There are also several tollhouses, a commercial brewery from the Massland and a peat house from Kalmhout.
There are few places in Europe that depict more clearly the material culture from which industry developed.