The fourth episode of Volkswagen’s docu series Off track is launched today. An episode brimming of strength and passion. Frédéric De Meyer, one of the last stonemasons working in Belgium, guides us to hidden places in our country. He also takes us for a trip through history, because stonemasonry is one of mankind’s most ancient professions.
Last year, Volkswagen launched Off track, a series of documentaries that invite us to travel through Belgium in breathtaking and unusual places. Off track is also a story about passionate women and men who have chosen to live off the beaten path. This fourth episode is dedicated to Frédéric De Meyer, an imposing bearded philosopher who sculpts stones in an artisanal way.
Frédéric explains how each meticulous movement directly descends from our predecessors of the Middle Ages. Stonemasonry is a craft that cannot be learned at school. Instead, you learn it through trial and error, whether it’s high in the towers or deep in the quarries.
This episode of Off track takes us to Herselt where we find Frédéric’s workshop. An astonishing place where he shapes the rough stones. Using his hands and tools, and above all a lot of patience, he turns rough stone into shapes and figures. The dust and the sound of his chisel are his only companions.
The first place we discover is the abbey of Averbode, a building from the 12th century that Frédéric De Meyer is currently restoring to tradition. Like his predecessors from the Middle Ages, he starts with a detailed sketch. Afterwards, he commences the traditional carving before ultimately nailing the end product down to the millimeter. The Averbode region is a place full of history. A peaceful and quiet location that breathes serenity. Absolutely worth a visit.
The quarries of Hainaut in Soignies
Ultimately, we follow Frédéric’s Volkswagen to an extraordinary place: the quarries of Soignies, where the raw material is extracted. This is where the real work begins: "choosing and cutting the natural stone is my first job". Gigantic, imposing, raw, spectacular ... those who visit the quarries will be left speechless. The beauty of the landscape and the strength of nature intertwined.