Site of the former Forest Abbey


Although the original priory was founded somewhere between 1105 and 1110 and its elevation to the rank of abbey dates to 1239, most of the buildings still visible today date from the 18th century. They were built under the direction of architect Laurent-Benoît Dewez, who the nuns commissioned after a fire destroyed part of the complex in 1764. A champion of Neoclassicism, he designed a doorway and a vast hemicycle accentuated by semi-_circular arched windows leading to the priory building. The French revolution sounded the death knell for the abbey and its extensive estate. At one time, it extended from today’s Duden Park to the boundaries of Boitsfort/Bosvoorde, forming the vast Heegde Wood. The 52 hectares of Vronerode Wood also remained in Benedictine ownership until 1794, when the nuns disposed of their properties in Uccle/Ukkel. The remaining land was sold to the state in 1797. While the structures, which were barely 30 years old, were maintained and repurposed, the same cannot be said for the Gothic abbey and its cloister, which were demolished along with a number of other outbuildings. The complex was finally acquired by the municipality in 1964. Thanks to support from, among others, the ERDF 2020 programme, the abbey site is, today, on the cusp of a significant restoration and rehabilitation project aimed at completely transforming it into a cultural centre. Community allotments composed of 35 squares have recently been developed on the site. (Listed 08/09/1994)

Various activities for the Forest medieval festival.

Practical information

  • place Saint-Denis
    1190 Brussels
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