Religious sites in Belgium

Rouge-Cloître Abbey

Rouge-Cloître Abbey is an Augustinian abbey, founded in 1367. The name Roodklooster or Rouge-Cloître means the Red Hermitage. Apparently, the walls of the original hermitage were coated in crushed tiles, which produced the characteristic colour. The hermitage was built in 1366 by a priest called Gilles Olivier and a layman called Walter van der Molen. William Daniel, a priest of the parish of Boendael, also ce ...
Founded: 1367 | Location: Brussels, Belgium

St Aubin's Cathedral

St Aubin's Cathedral (1751-1767) is the only cathedral in Belgium built in academic Late Baroque style. It was the only church built in the Low Countries as a cathedral after 1559, when most of the dioceses of the Netherlands were reorganized. In the interior, there is an ornamented frieze, carved with swags of fruit and flowers between the Corinthian capitals runs in an unbroken band entirely round the church. All colou ...
Founded: 1751-1767 | Location: Namur, Belgium

La Cambre Abbey

The Abbey of La Cambre or Ter Kameren Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey in Ixelles, Brussels. The abbey church is a catholic parish of the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels and home to a community of Norbertine canons while other parts of the monastery house the headquarters of the Belgian National Geographic Institute and La Cambre, a prestigious visual arts school. The abbey was founded about 1196, by its patroness Gis& ...
Founded: c. 1196 | Location: Brussels, Belgium

Grimbergen Abbey

Grimbergen Abbey is a Premonstratensian monastery established in 1128 in the place of an earlier foundation of Augustinian Canons. The abbey itself was dissolved in 1796 in the aftermath of the French Revolution, but the abbey church of Saint Servatius survived as the parish church of Grimbergen. After the French Revolution the abbey was reinstated. The building in its present form dates from 1660 and is considered one o ...
Founded: 1128 | Location: Grimbergen, Belgium

Church of Our Lady-across-the-Dyle

Church of Our Lady-across-the-Dyle was built in the 14th and 15th centuries on the site where Mechelen"s first parish church probably stood. The tower contains a complete carillon with no fewer than 49 bells. The Dyle church houses some wonderful art treasures. Rubens painted a work for this church just as he had done for St John"s. The fishmongers commissioned him to illustrate the wealth of their guild as they ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Mechelen, Belgium

Bois-Seigneur-Isaac Abbey

Bois-Seigneur-Isaac Abbey is a former Augustinian abbey, now a Premonstratensian priory. In the 11th century Lord Isaac set out on Crusade and was taken prisoner by the Saracens, but was miraculously freed following a vision of the Virgin Mary. On returning to his lands he built a wooden chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Grace and Consolation, with a statue venerated for nearly two centuries. In 1336 the neighbouring villag ...
Founded: 1413 | Location: Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium

Notre-Dame de Leffe Abbey

The abbey of Leffe was founded in 1152 on the river Meuse in southern Belgium. Like many monasteries across Europe, the Premonstratensian (Norbertine) canons of the abbey brewed ale, starting in 1240. Using knowledge passed from generation to generation and ingredients found in the wild near the abbey, the canons developed a unique ale with a subtle taste and high alcohol content, brewed only at the abbey. The abbey has ...
Founded: 1152 | Location: Dinant, Belgium

Saint James' Church

Saint James" Church is considered "unstable" and is not open to the general public. Only the tower remains of the original church, and is in late Romanesque style, dating from 1220-1230, clearly early times in the history of Leuven. It has been a parish church since 1252, and collegiate church since 1454.
Founded: 1220-1230 | Location: Leuven, Belgium

Keizersberg Abbey

Keizersberg Abbey, also known as Mont César Abbey is a Benedictine monastery. The Keizersberg (Caesar"s or Emperor"s hill) was the site of the castle around which the city of Leuven grew up, and which local legend connected with Julius Caesar. The castle was demolished in 1782 by order of Emperor Joseph II. On the east side of the same hill a commandery of the Knights Templars was built in 1187, which whe ...
Founded: 1888 | Location: Leuven, Belgium

Aulne Abbey Ruins

Aulne Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded by Saint Landelinus about 637. Before 974 the Benedictines were replaced by secular clerics leading a common life, who, however, embraced the Rule of St. Augustine in 1144. At the instance of Henry de Leyen, Bishop of Liège, it came into the hands of Cistercian monks from Clairvaux in 1147, under Franco de Morvaux as its first Cistercian abbot. From that time onwards ...
Founded: 637 AD | Location: Thuin, Belgium

Forest Abbey

Forest Abbey is a Benedictine Abbey founded in 1105, beside a creek, a tributary of the Zenne, southwest of the city of Brussels. The abbots of Affligem, which had been the ecclesiastical owners of the parish since the bishop of Cambrai ceded it to them in 1105, decided to build a priory for women in Forest, Forest Abbey. The first abbess of the Forest priory was named in 1239. Also in the 13th century, the Romanesque chu ...
Founded: 1105 | Location: Brussels, Belgium

St. Donat Church

Waléran, the first Count of Arlon, built a fortified chateau at the top of the town during the 11th century. Along with the town ramparts, this was completely destroyed in 1558 when Arlon was pillaged by the troops of the Duc de Guise. When the Capuchin monks arrivedin Arlon in 1621, they built their abbey on the ruins of the castle. In 1681 a Vauban-type fortified wall was built transforming the abbey into a citadel. A ...
Founded: 1621 | Location: Arlon, Belgium

Saint-Hubert Abbey Church

The Abbey of Saint-Hubert, officially the Abbey of St Peter in the Ardennes, was a Benedictine monastery founded in the Ardennes in 687 and suppressed in 1797. The former abbey church is now a minor basilica in the diocese of Namur. The monastery was founded in the village of Andage in 687 by Pepin of Herstal and his wife, Plectrude, for the monk Bergis. The remains of St Hubert (died 727) were installed in t ...
Founded: 687 AD | Location: Saint-Hubert, Belgium

Saint Quentin's Church

Saint Quentin"s Church lies about in the middle of the Naamse straat. The substructure of its tower is still in 13th century Romanesque style. Construction of the present church started in 1440.
Founded: 1440 | Location: Leuven, Belgium

St. Leonard's Church

The Saint Leonard's Church in Zoutleeuw stands on the former site of a Romanesque chapel erected in 1125 by Benedictines from Vlierbeek Abbey near Leuven. Construction of the present church began around 1231, and additions continued into the 16th century. Rendered mainly in the Gothic style, the building in its oldest parts shows traces of the Romanesque. The two heavy square towers flanking the west facade are connected ...
Founded: 1231 | Location: Zoutleeuw, Belgium

Averbode Abbey

Averbode Abbey was founded about 1134–1135 by Arnold II, Count of Loon. The abbey started rather small but grew over the centuries, until it was some 5500 ha in the 17th century, including farms, fields, woodland, mills, heath, and local chapels. The abbey also provided the priests for 27 parishes. The first abbey church was inaugurated in 1194, and soon after the nuns, who until then resided in Averbode as well, mo ...
Founded: 1134 | Location: Vlaanderen, Belgium

Collegiate Church of Saint Hadelin

The perfectly preserved Romanesque church of Celles is thought to be prior to the 12th century. The crypt, located under the choir, probably dates back to the 9th century. The crypt is built in the shape of a Latin cross with three naves and 2 rows of pillars. In the church tower, you can admire a very ancient roman inscription, which is thought to date from the reign of the emperor Probus (279). This remarkable monum ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Houyet, Belgium

Drongen Abbey

Drongen Abbey is a monastic complex on the River Leie in Drongen, a part of the city of Ghent. Formerly a Premonstratensian abbey, since 1837 the premises have belonged to the Jesuits. In the Middle Ages there were two legends regarding the abbey"s foundation in the 7th century. According to one, the abbey was built by a certain Basinus, king of Basotes; according to the other, its founder was Saint Amandus, who als ...
Founded: 7th century/1638 | Location: Ghent, Belgium

Lobbes Abbey Church

Lobbes Abbey was a Benedictine monastery which played an important role in the religious, political and religious life of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, especially around the year 1000. The monastery was founded by Saint Landelin around 650. Under the abbots Folcuin (965-990), Heriger of Lobbes (990-1007) and Hugo (1033–1053), the abbey and the school once again attained a great reputation. After this period the fame ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lobbes, Belgium

Maredsous Abbey

Maredsous Abbey was founded in 1872 by Beuron Abbey in Germany. The foundation was supported financially by the Desclée family, who paid for the design and construction of the spectacular buildings, which are the masterwork of the architect Jean-Baptiste de Béthune (1831–1894), leader of the neo-gothic style in Belgium. The overall plan is based on the 13th century Cistercian abbey of Villers at Viller ...
Founded: 1872 | Location: Denée, Belgium

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Medieval Walls of Avila

The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.

The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.