The ambition of Arboretum Wespelaar is to contribute to the knowledge and further study of all woody plants from the temperate climates of the world. By building up living collections of as many species as possible within our target groups, the arboretum hopes to contribute to the conservation of rare and threatened species. The arboretum should also provide useful information on new species and cultivated varieties which deserve to be planted in the parks and gardens of Belgium and neighboring countries. Finally, the grounds should at all times be a place of great beauty, to be enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
Philippe de Spoelberch, a passionate dendrologist, started his botanical collections in Herkenrode in the 1970’s. In order to accommodate ever more plants, he decided to extend the collection towards the north of his garden, on what would later become the Arboretum Wespelaar. The Arboretum is managed since 2001 by the Foundation Arboretum Wespelaar, which was set up to guarantee the survival of the collections and to arrange for their opening to the public. Today, about 2000 different species and cultivated varieties can be discovered on the 20 hectare grounds, with the main focus being on trees and shrubs from known wild origin.