La Rawète, a citizen player

In the press as on the web, the name of the Gourmet Museum is attached to the Farm of Hermalle-sous-Huy and to the Tourist Office of Hermalle-sous-Huy La Rawète. This multiplicity of names deserves an explanation:

Once upon the time was… the farm of the castle of Hermalle-sous-Huy, named Ferme castrale

This imposing building was abandoned since 1975 and its renovation was undertaken from 1991. It was still necessary to find a new assignment. Culture and Tourism were chosen and our non-profit organization La Rawète was born on 17 June 1993 with a specific corporate purpose:

  • Support for the architectural restoration and for tourist promotion of the farm of the castle of Hermalle-sous-Huy, named Ferme castrale, and
  • Protection of gastronomic heritage by collection, classification, restoration of old and modern original objects en documents concerning food, tobacco, history of the cookery and the gastronomy (and especially in Belgium).

Rawète ? Walloon word which means "free supplement" and, jokingly, as "last child born long after the previous one" says Jean Haust in his Dictionnaire liégeois in 1933. A last-born not expected, in fact. The new activity created by the association is humorously to the latter sense: would farmers ever have expected that the farm mound becomes a center of culture and tourism?

The npo first opened in the farm (so-called Ferme castrale) an infrastructure to offer information and to got a minimum of treasury with a small cafeteria.

Two years later, it created the Gourmet museum which recalls the history of the Gastronomy.
Two years still passed and the npo opened the Gourmet Library which offers now the most important collection of gastronomic books of Belgium: more than 20 000 books! 

Groups of visitors are beginning to book tours, and this will gradually involve our volunteers in the more specific welcoming for disabled ; this substantive work will be rewarded with the CAP48 award corporate citizenship 2009 for our "very active policy of accessibility despite limited resources.".

In 2002, the npo inaugurated its cycle of guided walks for a new discovery of edible wild plants.  It will later add days of training on this topic.


In 2003 La Rawète celebrated its 10 years!  Because it corresponded to the criteria of the new decree on tourism, it obtained from the Walloon General Commission for Tourism its recognition like Tourist office of Hermalle-sous-Huy and should change its name accordingly. Its purpose extends to the development and promotion of tourism on the territory of the old village of Hermalle-sous-Huy ; a website on the history, topography, activities of the village is created :

The tourist office opens in 2004 the Museum Postes restantes to tell the story of the Post and writing.

The Farm found a new life … but is not saved even so: the restoration of the eastern and western wings is not finished and the roof is strongly degraded… The npo thus became co-partner in the request for classification introduced in June 2005 ; Mr Michel Daerden, Minister in charge for Heritage, didn't follow up in December 2006.
By the restoration of the building, the farm however represents an encouragement to the safeguard of the old village.  By its (not subsidized), Museums and its Library, it constitutes today a center of knowledge at scientific level.  By its markets, fairs, temporary exhibitions, etc, it attracts a regional and European public ; it thus takes part in the tourist expansion of Wallonia.
In early summer 2008, the association launchs a petition of support. The file classification remains pending until January 20, 2012 when the classification procedure is finally open - which does not imply that the property wil be classified.

A civic action: the protection of the heritage.

When you come to the Ferme castrale, you support the volunteers of the npo Tourist office of Hermalle-sous-Huy La Rawète which was one of the 16 associations chosen by the Foundation for Architecture, Art and the Craft industry of the Meuse region to represent an example of civic action on 2006 September 1.

The npo preserves as much architectural heritage (the Farm castrale) as cultural heritage thanks to its museums.
Although the thematics are different, the philosophy of work is the same one: to offer to the public the best conditions of discovery, with serious for the scientific aspect, with humour for the presentation. The visits are guided in French and Dutch by qualified people and they are modulated according to public (children, teenagers, adults, handicapped persons, etc). That offers a real user-friendliness and personalized exchanges.

But the npo preserves also an immaterial heritage:
In 2002, thanks to the documents of the Library, it edited its 1st CD-ROM, and it claimed that regional or old recipes belong to the heritage as well as monuments and sites.
It organized the discovery of wild plants for culinary use and it privileges the old receipts in its tavern.  Taste them!

A self-financed action…

Although member or partner of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels (because our Museums are included in the list of museum collections), of the Heritage Days which we work since 1991, of Museums and Society in Wallonia, of the General Commission for Tourism, of the Tourist Hesbaye Meuse house, of the association Hesbaye Meuse-Condroz-Tourism and of Article 27, we have to solely count on us for cash…

When visitors of the Ferme castrale inquire about the financial position of the npo they have difficulty to believe us!

Since its recognition like Tourist office, the npo La Rawète is entitled to subventions.  We thus receive like operating subsidy 380 €/year [sic] from the Federation of Tourism of the province of Liege, and are entitled to maximum 1500 €/year from General Commission for Tourism for the promotion of the village and our activities..  That’s all.

In April 2011, the association has thus opened in the barn of the farm a flea market of books and objects to enabled to continue its funding. This flea market is called "Les Chineurs gourmands" (the Gourmet antique-hunters) to make a veiled reference to the others activities.


Panoramic vieuw of the ground floor of the barn with the market

All those working in the farm and in our association are volunteers ; no one is paid. Of course you can join us as member of the association or as volunteer. Contact us! !

An action partner...

Since 1995, we have collaborated with other cultural or scientific institutions.  Some examples:

- With Graphic design studio Cyan of Berlin for an exposure of photographs about dance to the Ferme castrale
- With Club Le Postillon of Amay for a Post “First day” in the barn of the Farm
- With Ensemble PassionataDanse of Bruxelles, for afternoons of neo-classic ballet
- With Théâtre National de la Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles for “Letters of Belgium” in the Ferme castrale
- With Ann Gaytan and Jo Deseure for Poésie et chanson française, with Frietkotmuseum of Antwerpen, CEC La Libellule of Hermalle-sous-Huy, Cities of Liège and Huy, CAG (Centrum Agrarische Geschiedenis) of Leuven, <>Made in Belgium in Brussels,  Miat (Museum voor Industriële Archeologie en Textiel) of Gent, Musée de la Vie wallonne of Liège, ARTE tv, etc.

In 2011, the Gourmet Museum and Library lended objects and books for exhibitions to the Musée du Moulin and de l'alimentation of Evere, the library Chiroux-Croisier of Liege, Tempora sa (Tour & Taxi in Brussels and to the Grand Curtius museum in Liège. In 2012-2013, the Museum Postes restantes loaned objects to the Muséobus, and 74 objects of the Post and for writing to the City Wervik (West Flanders) for an exhibition on the Post.



Detail of a showcase in the library Chiroux-Croisiers, 2011.

A social action...

La Rawète, as Tourist office, has also become member of the Plan de cohésion sociale of Engis for intergenerational ties and social links.