29 September 2024

150 Years of the Sint-Amandsberg Beguinage

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Duke Engelbert of Arenberg and the Beguines

150 years ago, starting in 1873, a new beguinage was rapidly constructed in Sint-Amandsberg. The Saint Elizabeth Beguinage, near the Rabot, was increasingly absorbed and threatened by the growing city of Ghent, forcing the beguines to relocate.

Their savior was Duke Engelbert of Arenberg. He purchased the land on the Sint-Baafskouter and commissioned the construction of the new beguinage. Eighty houses and fourteen convents were built along winding, strategically laid-out streets. A town in itself, fully walled and with two imposing entrance gates. It is the only neo-Gothic beguinage in Flanders.

150th Anniversary of the Beguinage

The Beguinage in Sint-Amandsberg celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. It remains a special and spiritual place of tranquillity on the city's edge. A place full of history where people still live and work today. In the spirit of the beguines, connection and emancipation continue to play a significant role.

Without disturbing the peace of the beguinage, we are celebrating its 150th anniversary with an artistic and unifying program: “In the Tranquility of the Beguinage.”

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Procession from Old to New Beguinage

As the highlight of the 150th anniversary, we will organize a procession on September 29 from the old Beguinage at the Rabot to the Beguinage in Sint-Amandsberg. Exactly 150 years later, we will commemorate the move of the last 300 beguines with a festive procession of 300 women through the city. Upon arrival, the restored coats of arms of the duke will be unveiled.

New Book About the Beguinage

A new book about the beguinage will also be presented on the final day. The book is aimed at a general, culturally interested audience, with accessible texts, rich iconography, and an attractive design.