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

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Erik Vanderhaegen (5 months ago)
Will be a fantastic spot once renovated
Gavin Rens (9 months ago)
It is a nice place to get out from between buildings.
Izak Kapi (9 months ago)
Nice walk to the Abby but some of the nice view areas are closed so there is no view of the city. May not be worth the walk up hill to find out no view.
Mrunmayee Kode (16 months ago)
Highest point in Leuven. Nice place for picnics. Sadly the fences block all the view.
Pieter Goossens (18 months ago)
Too bad much has been lost to history but the climb is well worth the view on the city of Leuven. With a little imagination you can see how the Burgundian dukes of Brabant watched the town hall rise in the distance over half a millennium ago.
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