Saint Willibrord (658-739) was an English monk who was a missionary to the Frisians, Flanders and Luxembourg. He became the Archbishop of Utrecht. According to one legend, he visited the small village of Berchem in the 8th century. There he is supposed to have erected a small chapel. This is why the church was consecrated to Saint Willibrord.
The interior of the church brings together different styles, primarily Baroque, but also late Gothic. The Gothic choir and transept ((1486-1517), the altar, the confessionals and the organ, as well as the tomb of Mary Anne of Berchem (1663) not only attract the eye, but have been classified as part of the historical heritage since 1953.
The tower and the façade date from 1850. However, the 23 stained glass windows by L.K. Crespin were installed only in 1950-1952.
The special feature of this church is located on the exterior. All around the church, one discovers tombstones attached to the walls. It’s rather surprising! It is very probable that a small cemetery surrounded the church.
Another special feature: An enormous red beech with a spread of 35 m (protected since 1949) devotes its full charm to the small square in front of the church. In the summer under its foliage a small terrace invites people to quench their thirst and have a bit to eat. It is like a haven of peace in this boisterous environment due to the Antwerp inner ring road.
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