Keizersberg Abbey

Leuven, Belgium

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 when the order was abolished came to the Knights Hospitallers in 1312. This was secularised by the French in 1798, when the church and larger buildings were demolished.

A Benedictine house of studies was established in Leuven in 1888 by nine monks from Maredsous Abbey, and land was acquired on the present site in the following year for the construction of a larger establishment, in which the remains of the old commandery were incorporated. The first major conventual block, the north wing, was completed in 1897. The abbey was formally founded on 13 April 1899 as part of the Beuron Congregation, under the first abbot, Dom Robertus de Kerchove.

In 1914 the buildings were severely damaged by fire, and the monks took refuge in another Beuronese house, Maria Laach Abbey in the Rhineland, until after the end of the war, when reconstruction was possible. The abbey again suffered damage in World War II with the bombing of the buildings during air raids on Leuven in 1944, which among other things destroyed the last remains of the older buildings from the time of the Hospitallers, and the monastery was temporarily uninhabitable. By 1948 it was sufficiently restored to be able to set up a small community at Wavreumont in Stavelot, which was formally established as St. Remaclus' Priory on 21 June 1952.

When the French section of the Catholic University of Leuven was moved out of Leuven it was decided that the abbey should become a Flemish institution, whence the change from Mont César to Keizersberg. On 10 June 1968 the abbey was transferred to the Flemish Province of the Subiaco Congregation. The abbot and prior resigned in the same year, and a temporary administrator was appointed.

In 1969 part of the renovated abbey was converted for use as student accommodation, and is still used for that purpose.

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Details

Founded: 1888
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jason Clements (3 years ago)
The abbey and its park/garden, is located on top of the Keizersberg, on the north side of Leuven. Relatively quiet (probably because it's not so easy to get to), you could definitely have a picnic and kick the football around here. You can also get a unique view of Leuven from the park.
Mitr Friend (3 years ago)
Go on a mass time and don't miss the Gregorian Chant! Its so soulful! But reaching it from Leuven centre is a bit difficult and you've gotta walk all around the park to reach the entrance!
James Gunn (3 years ago)
Dirty, decaying grounds. It's a shame the State took this from the Catholic Church. It's maintained as badly as everything else in Belgium. Overgrown garden full of diseased fruit trees, litter, and with weeds everywhere. There are packs of strange men wondering around looking for hookups
Max den Boef (3 years ago)
A beautiful abbey with an amazing garden. Ideal for a walk or even a picnic. The fences take away a bit of the feeling and it doesn't seem to be taken care of that well (e.g. very long grass, trash), which is a bit disappointing.
M Heris (3 years ago)
Nice and quite piece of nature
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