The priory of Rouge-Cloître was founded in 1369 and became one of the most important monastic sites of the Augustinian Canons in Brabant. Its name supposedly comes from an original hermitage, the walls of which were covered with a render of crushed tiles, with the term Roode Kluis eventually becoming Roodklooster or “red cloister”. Others think that the name could be derived from a cleared area of land – which, in Dutch, would be called rooien! – on which the monastery was built. It would have been a huge building surrounded by a white stone and brick wall, certain remnants of which still exist today. The monks worked to drain the marshy ground and planted fruit trees as well as vines, all while growing vegetables and adapting the natural habitat to their needs. The location is not only rich in heritage, it is also of significant natural importance, with its unique topography being due to the stone quarrying that was once carried out on the site. Of the original fifteen ponds, only five remain, coupled with wetland areas, including a flooded alder wood, traversed by canals, with its own unique habitat in terms of insects, birds, amphibians and fish. Belladonna, nettle-leaved bellflower, orchid and wood sanicle grow on the site of the old sandstone quarry. This is the reason why part of the estate has been designated a nature reserve. In the area around the priory, the canons’ garden has been recreated and an exact replica of the original courtyard fountain rebuilt. Bordered by the tall trees of the forest, the meadows, valley and ornamental ponds of Rouge-Cloître stand as vestiges of rurality at the edge of the city. (Listed 16/11/1965)
Guided tours. Saturday and Sunday at 11h00, 12h00, 13h00, 14h00, 15h00 and 16h00 (French) and at 11h30, 12h30, 13h30, 14h30, 15h30 and 16h15 (Dutch) (duration: 1 hour). Starting point: in front of the Centre d’Art de Rouge-Cloître. Up to 25 people per tour. In cooperation with Itinéraires, sur les Sentiers de l’Histoire and the Centre d’Art de Rouge-Cloître.
Guided tours explaining how human intervention, since the 14th century, has enabled the development of an interesting level of biodiversity. Sunday only at 10h00 (duration: 2 hours). Starting point: in front of the Centre d’Art du Rouge-Cloître. In French only. Up to 25 people per tour. In cooperation with Cercle des Guides-nature du Brabant (Cercles des Naturalistes de Belgique – CNB).