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 that the Catholic mass was not allowed in the Dutch Republic. Therefore, Catholics from Valkenswaard and Schaft built a chapel in Achel which was part of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The early roots of the Abbey date back to 1686, when Petrus van Eynatten, a son of the mayor of Eindhoven, founded a community of hermits of Saint Joseph. The community would flourish until 1789 when they were expelled from their convent after the French revolutionary army invaded the Austrian Netherlands. The abbey was sold to Jan Diederik van Tuyll van Serooskerken.

On 21 March 1846 the Trappists from Westmalle Abbey founded a priory in Achel (first founded in Meersel-Dreef on 3 May 1838 in a former monastery of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin). The abbey and its 95 hectares of land had been bought by the priest Gast from Heeze on 9 April 1845 with the support of several beneficiaries. The first beer to be brewed on the site was the 'Patersvaatje' in 1852. In 1871, the priory was granted the status of abbey and beer brewing became a regular activity. By reclaiming wasteland, the agriculture and cattle-breeding of the abbey prospered. In addition several daughter-houses were founded in Echt, Diepenveen, Rochefort and the abbey of Notre Dame de l'Emmanuel in Kasanza in 1958 (Belgian Congo).

At the beginning of World War I (1914) the monks left the abbey. The Germans dismantled the brewery in 1917 to salvage the approximately 700 kg of copper. After World War II a new abbey was built between 1946 and 1952, but only two wings of the planned four were completed. In 1989 the abbey sold most of its land to the Dutch National Forest Administration and the Flemish Government. In 1998 with the support from the trappists from Westmalle and Rochefort brewing started again.

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Founded: 1686
Category: Religious sites in Belgium

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

B before art (9 months ago)
Very cosy to grab a coffee, lunch or beer
Thiago Soares (13 months ago)
This place is awesome but the service could be a lot better.
Nguyen Jolene (15 months ago)
Nice place to go and have a drink, good measures during corona virus period.
Helen Robinson (2 years ago)
Wonderful place to come and buy Trappist and Abbey beers. Leave yourself enough time for a walk in the forest if you can.
Johanna Melke (2 years ago)
Good for a bike trip from Eindhoven. The beer is great and you can sit outside. It could be so much more though. The coffee comes from a machine with buttons and isn't really good and the cakes aren't anything special either, don't look homemade to me. You also can't get decent lunch here, some nice sandwiches and fries would already be a good start. With so many people visiting this place, it must be worth it to get a real cook and a kitchen going. The shop is nice but that's about all you can visit, the monastery is closed for the public.
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