Rouge-Cloître Abbey

Brussels, Belgium

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 celebrated Mass there from time to time. The founding charter was witnessed by Jeanne, Duchess of Brabant, on 1 March 1367. Shortly after, some time between 1367 and 1369 and following the example of the nearby priory of Groenendael, the community adopted the Rule of St. Augustine.

The foundation was confirmed in 1373 by Gérard de Dainville, Bishop of Cambrai and the following year was affiliated to the order of Chanoines réguliers de saint Augustin. The community grew quickly. In 1381, construction of the church was initiated, after receiving gifts of land and lakes from the Duchess of Brabant, as well as privileges and tax exemptions.

In 1402, along with other Brabant priories, Rouge-Cloître formed a congregation (or General Chapter) which was led by Groenendael. In 1412, as part of the Groenendael congregation, the abbey joined the Windesheim congregation. These first centuries of the priory were ones of great devotion. It possessed a fine library and developed a notable illumination workshop.

The location of the monastery provided easy access to the sandstone necessary for construction and wood from the forest was used for furniture and heating. Springs are plentiful in the area, the ponds supplied fish, and a water mill on the stream was used to grind grain and press oil. Part of the forest was cleared to provide cattle pasture. In 1400, an enclosure was created which partly survives today.

The white sandstone church is decorated with paintings from Rubens' studio and in the 16th century, the monastery was one of the most prestigious in the Spanish Netherlands, in large part due to its proximity to Brussels. Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Isabella of Spain all stayed there, as well as many other notable personages.

At the end of the 16th century, during the Dutch Revolt, the priory was pillaged and the canons were forced to rake refuge in Brussels until the uprising was over. The abbey was abolished in 1796.

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Details

Founded: 1367
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jerome Paquay (2 months ago)
Very nice nature close to downtown Brussels. Great playgrounds. Large woods to walk around. Or bike. In summer time, outside terrace with options for food and drinks. Art exhibit in the farm next to the cloister. Also horses and donkey in the field or barn.
La Belgique insolite (3 months ago)
Without the shadow of a doubt one of the best parks of Brussels!! Walking there is just amazing with all those lakes and colours, it is also the perfect place for a picnic. The quietness outside the busy city is very relaxing and there are so many paths to change every time you go there. I highly recommend it if you love nature!
Christian Meseth (4 months ago)
Nice place to go for a walk and have coffee and snack
Bogdan Florescu (7 months ago)
Forrest, ponds where you can fish, playgrounds, an Art Center, meadows with horses, rabbits and chickens, apple trees, that's just part of it. Had fun with my family there
Piotr Kiraga (7 months ago)
Very pleasant place for a picnic, to spend some time with friends, having a walk or for a cycling.
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