National Tobacco Museum Print
Wervik has a long tradition as a tobacco-growing region: tobacco has been cultivated there since around 1650. The region experienced a boom in the 18th century. France levied very high excise duties on tobacco, which of course created the ideal circumstances for illegal importation. Wervik has the right soil for tobacco cultivation and is situated near the border, which makes it the perfect operating base for smugglers.
In the 20th century, Wervik developed into Belgium's main tobacco-growing region. Over 98% of Belgian tobacco is still produced here, but the tobacco era has definitely come to an end: tobacco cultivation is no longer profitable.
The Tobacco Museum has been housed in the annexes of the 18th-century Briekenmolen windmill since 1987. A new, modern wing was added in 2003. The windmill is listed as a monument. You can visit it by appointment.
The National Tobacco Museum is during the remembrance period largely dedicated to the history of tobacco and smoking during the First World War.