We want to visit Belgium - not for the chocolate, but to see this fairytale forest that turns into a mesmerizing sea of blue flowers every year. Located just outside of Brussels, Hallebros, also known as Bois de Hal in French, the 552-hectare forest is consumed by a thick layer of bluebell flowers sometime during April or May. Kilian Schönberger, a German landscape photographer, recently captured some stunning images of the spectacle.
Speaking to MyModernMet about the fairytale forest, when asked about the colors, Schönberger said, “The colors are really that blue, especially under the moist conditions of the morning fog.” Unsurprisingly, the forest attracts throngs of tourists at this particular time of year, which makes the weekdays one of the best time to explore. While it might be tempting to take a souvenir, picking any of the flowers is strictly forbidden in order to preserve this natural spectacle for years to come.
You might be forgiven for thinking some of the photos have been enhanced, but Schönberger made it clear not much has been changed since he took them. “There is not too much post processing done. The fog is natural. Forecasting foggy conditions is an essential part of my photography. Some contrast enhancement and color management in the darker parts of the image are all I’ve done.”
Apart from Belgium, there are other places around Europe where bluebells can be found, such as the UK, France, and Ireland. In the UK, they are considered a protected species, and it’s a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild common bluebells. Those who ignore this rule and try to sell the bulbs or seeds can attract a hefty fine of up to £5,000 (approx. $8,400) per bulb.
Images by Kilian Schönberger, Bart Ceuppens, Walter Spoor, Jimmy De Taeye, Gvriend