The abbey of Averbode was founded in 1134 by the count of Looz.
The baroque church of Our Lady built by Jean van den Eynde (1664-1672) dominates its surroundings. It replaces an old Romanesque- Gothic style church and was consecrated to Saint John the Baptist and to the Virgin (the assumption). In the gracious lines of the facade are the statues of Saint Norbert (on the right) and the abbey’s patron, Saint John (on the left).
As a reaction against the Reformation and Lutheran Protestantism, this new baroque church had to impress its believers with the profusion and refinement of its decoration and demonstrate where the true faith lay. Witnessing this are the 18th century pulpit, the confessionals ( from 1780), the altars at the entrance to the choir (vestiges of a rood screen). But even more impressive is the choir which is longer than the nave with its 72 stalls (from 1672), with many interesting details, where the monks went for prayer and song.
Also noteworthy is the main altar decorated with an Assumption. The painting by Gaspar de Crayer, "foundation of the Prèmontré order", was moved from the altar to the chapter house.
Take time to visit the cemetery where the writer Ernest Claes is buried (died in 1968), to wander in the park where the abbey is restoring the Calvary and to walk in the neighbouring woods and hills.
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