Monasteries in Belgium

Herkenrode Abbey

Herkenrode Abbey is a former monastery of Cistercian nuns. Since 1972 some of the surviving buildings have served as the home of a community of the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, who have since built a new retreat center and church on the site. The abbey was founded in or about 1182 by Count Gerard of Loon, who sold a part of his lands to raise funds for his participation in the Crusades, and used some of the proceeds ...
Founded: 1182 | Location: Hasselt, Belgium

Rochefort Abbey

The Trappist Abbey of Rochefort or Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, which belongs to the Cistercians of Strict Observance, is located in Rochefort in the province of Namur. The 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. Around 1230, Gil ...
Founded: 1230 | Location: Rochefort, Belgium

Andenne Abbey Church

Saint Begga, great-great-grandmother of Charlemagne, founded a Merovingian abbey in Andenne circa 692. That abbey comprised seven churches, in addition to two separate quarters. In the 11th century, the monastery was changed intoa secular chapter. Secular power required recruitment among the nobility. That is why the early monastery becamea predominantly female Noble Chapter. In 1762, the seven churches were in a very po ...
Founded: 692 AD | Location: Andenne, 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 foundati ...
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

Waulsort Abbey

Waulsort Abbey was a Benedictine monastery located at Waulsort, Wallonia, now in Hastière. The monastery was founded in 946 by Irish monks. Saint Maccallin and Saint Cathróe were the first two abbots. Saint Forannan (d. 980) was also subsequently abbot of Waulsort. The abbey was dissolved during the French Revolution in 1793, when it was sacked. The surviving structures have been remodelled as a private house. The ...
Founded: 946 AD | Location: Hastière, 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

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

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

Maredret Abbey

Maredret Abbey is a Benedictine nunnery, located on the edge of Marèdret, a very small village in the hilly countryside to the south of Charleroi and Namur. The abbey was inaugurated with the installation of seven nuns in 1893, and the abbey church was constructed between 1898 and 1907. The abbey"s foundation was part of the wider monastic revival of the nineteenth century. The project to establish a community of B ...
Founded: 1893 | Location: Denée, 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

Grandpré Abbey

Grandpré Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey in Wallonia located at Faulx-les-Tombes (in the present commune of Gesves). The only remains of the abbey are the gatehouse and the attached range at the main entrance, the farm buildings and the mill, once powered by the Samson brook, which crosses the site. The abbey was founded in 1231 as a daughter house of Villers-la-Ville Abbey, of the filiation of Clairvaux, on a site w ...
Founded: 1231 | Location: Gesves, 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

Oignies Abbey

Oignies Abbey is a former Augustinian monastery established in 1187. Four brothers from Walcourt settled at Oignies, Three of the brothers, Gilles, Robert and John, were priests, while the fourth, Hugo, was a jeweller and metalworker. Several other men settled with them and they formed the community of St. Nicolas of Oignies, adopting the rule of St. Augustine. In 1192, St Nicolas of Oignies was officially recognized as a ...
Founded: 1187 | Location: Aiseau-Presles, 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Redipuglia World War I Memorial

Redipuglia is the largest Italian Military Sacrarium. It rises up on the western front of the Monte Sei Busi, which, in the First World War was bitterly fought after because, although it was not very high, from its summit it allowed an ample range of access from the West to the first steps of the Karstic table area.

The monumental staircase on which the remains of one hundred thousand fallen soldiers are lined up and which has at its base the monolith of the Duke of Aosta, who was the commanding officer of the third Brigade, and gives an image of a military grouping in the field of a Great Unity with its Commanding Officer at the front. The mortal remains of 100,187 fallen soldiers lie here, 39,857 of them identified and 60,330 unknown.