Monasteries in Belgium

Achel Abbey

The Trappist Abbey of Achel or Saint Benedictus-Abbey is famous for its spiritual life and its brewery, which is one of few Trappist beer breweries in the world. Life in the abbey is characterised by prayer, reading and manual work, the three basic elements of Trappist life. In 1648, at the end of the Eighty Years War, the Treaty of Münster was signed between Spain and the Netherlands. The result of the treaty was t ...
Founded: 1686 | Location: Hamont-Achel, Belgium

Scourmont Abbey

Scourmont Abbey is a Trappist monastery famous for its spiritual life, and the Chimay Brewery which it runs, one of the few Trappist breweries. In 1844, Jean-Baptiste Jourdain, the priest of Virelles, suggested that the wild plateau of Scourmont was a suitable place for a monastery. However, all previous attempts to cultivate the barren plateau had failed. Fr. Jourdain obtained support for the proposed foundation from Pr ...
Founded: 1850 | Location: Chimay, Belgium

Bonne-Espérance Abbey

Bonne-Espérance Abbey was a Premonstratensian abbey that existed from 1130 to the end of the 18th century. The abbey owed its foundation to the conversion of William, the only son and heir of Rainard, the Knight of Croix. William had followed the heretical teaching of Tanchelm, but Norbert of Xanten brought him back to Roman Catholicism. In gratitude his parents, Rainard and Beatrix, gave land to Norbert for the fo ...
Founded: 1130 | Location: Estinnes, Belgium

Gembloux Abbey

Gembloux Abbey was a Benedictine abbey founded about 945 by Saint Guibert or Wibert and dedicated to Saint Peter and the martyr Saint Exuperius. In 954 the Hungarians threatened to pillage the monastery. Guibert not only saved it from harm but also converted some Hungarians to Christianity. On 23 May 962, Guibert died at Gorze and his remains were brought for burial to Gembloux. Olbert (1012-1048) built a new abbey churc ...
Founded: 945 AD | Location: Gembloux, Belgium

Aywiers Abbey Ruins

Aywiers Abbey was founded in 1215 by Cistercian monks. It prospered and grew thanks to donations up to 2000 hectares. During the the French Revolution the abbey will be sold and the new owner demolished it partly. Today the seven-hectare garden is surrounded by ancient walls, containing superb hundred-year-old tree specimens, shrubs and rare plants, a pond and springs as well as a garden of aromatic and medicinal plant.
Founded: 1215 | Location: Lasne, Belgium

Nizelles Abbey

Nizelles Abbey originated as a little college set up by the monks from Moulins-Warnant Abbey to educate younger members of the local nobility. Over the years a succession of donations from grateful former pupils, backed up by generous financial support from Christine de Franckenberg, abbess over the canonesses at nearby Nivelles, made it possible for the little priory at Nizelles to be expanded into an abbey. A new church ...
Founded: 1441 | Location: Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium

Dieleghem Abbey

Dieleghem Abbey was founded in 1095 by the Bishop of Cambrai and administered by Augustinian canons. In 1140, the abbey’s monks switched to the rules of the Premonstratensian order. In the 13th century, the abbey now called Dieleghem possessed half of the commune’s territory and played an important social and economic role until the French Revolution. In November 1796, the Canons Regular were evicted and depor ...
Founded: 1095 | Location: Jette, Belgium

Meersel-Dreef Monastery

Dreef developed around the Capuchin Monastery, which was built in 1687 near the mark. The monastery serves as a parish church for the parish Meersel-Recherche and the monastery itself serving since 1968 as kapelanij. In 1889 a beech lane was constructed to the monastery. The Recherche, which has been protected since 1953, gave its name to the village that grew up around. Furthermore, as a monument recognized Maria Park (p ...
Founded: 1687 | Location: Hoogstraten, Belgium

Brogne Abbey

Brogne Abbey was founded in 919 AD. It was destroyed in the Wars of Religion in 1525 and closed in 1795. The church and cloister are demolished, but other buildings still remain. Brewing on this site was first documented in 986. Today it produces Brogne Blonde beer.
Founded: 919 AD | Location: Mettet, Belgium

Amay Abbey

The former Cistercian nuns Amay abbey (historically known as Abbey of the Paix-Dieu) was founded in 1244. The abbey church was rebuilt in 1313. The fire destroyed it with the adjoining dormitory and cloister in 1600. The last reconstruction dates from 1730-1767. The abbey was dissolved and nationalized during the French Revolution.
Founded: 1244 | Location: Amay, Belgium

Chevetogne Abbey

Chevetogne Abbey, also known as the Monastery of the Holy Cross, is a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery dedicated to Christian unity located in the Belgian village of Chevetogne. Currently, the monastery has 27 monks. In 1924 Pope Pius XI addressed the apostolic letter Equidem verba to the Benedictine Order encouraging them to work for the reunion of the Catholic and Eastern Churches, with particular emphasis on the R ...
Founded: 1939 | Location: Chevetogne, Belgium

Clairefontaine Abbey Ruins

The remains of the former Abbey of Notre-Dame de Clairefontaine are near Clairefontaine, a Belgian hamlet belonging to the city of Arlon. The valley has been inhabited since Roman times and castle Bardenbourg, in which amongst others Countess Ermesinde resided, saw several important personalities of its time. These included Pope Eugene III, who stopped there in 1147 with a group of 18 Cardinals on a trip from Rheims to Tr ...
Founded: c. 1247 | Location: Arlon, Belgium

Nieuwenbosch Abbey Ruins

Nieuwenbosch Abbey was a Cistercian community established in 1215 in Lokeren. The original site was unsuitable because of the poor water supply and the nuns moved to the site in Heusden in 1257, when the name became 'Nieuwenbosch'. The abbey was stormed and largely ruined in 1579 by the Iconoclasts, and the nuns moved for greater security inside the city of Ghent and built new premises in what is now the Lange V ...
Founded: 1257 | Location: Ghent, Belgium

Affligem Abbey

Affligem Abbey, dedicated in 1086, was the most important monastery in the Duchy of Brabant. The abbey of Affligem was probably founded in 1062 by six hermits, a group of knights who repented of their violent way of life. Hermann II, Count Palatine of Lotharingia (1061–1085) and his guardian, Anno II, archbishop of Cologne (d. 1075) are considered official founders. The count Palatine donated the land on which to bu ...
Founded: 1062 | Location: Affligem, Belgium

Brecht Abbey

In 1236 the Trappistine Brecht monastery of Our Lady of Nazareth at Lier (Duchy of Brabant) was accepted into the Cistercian Order. Blessed Beatrice of Nazareth (1200-1268) was its first prioress. For five centuries the abbey flourished, until 1797, when it was closed in the aftermath of the French Revolution, when the French Revolutionary Army occupied the Austrian Netherlands. The abbey did not recover from the closure ...
Founded: 1236 | Location: Brecht, Belgium

St. Andrew's Abbey

St. Andrew"s Abbey was a Benedictine abbey which was destroyed in the French Revolution. Its modern successor St. Andrew"s Abbey, Zevenkerken, founded in 1899–1900, is a Benedictine abbey of the Congregation of the Annunciation. The charter of the abbey was signed in 1100 and ratified by Count Robert II of Flanders. The abbey was built on what is now the site of the parish church of St. Andrew and St. Ann ...
Founded: 1100/1898 | Location: Bruges, Belgium

Boneffe Abbey

Boneffe Abbey was a Cistercian monastery on the banks of the Mehaigne in what is now the municipality of Éghezée. The abbot"s residence, first built in the early 16th century and repaired in the 17th and 18th centuries, is now a listed building that is currently in use as a farmhouse. The earliest attestation to the monastery"s existence is a papal bull of 1222. The abbey church was consecrated in ...
Founded: 1222 | Location: Éghezée, Belgium

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Czocha Castle

Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.

Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.

In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.

In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.

After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.