It was in 1252 that a beguinage was set up in the shadow of the Romanesque church of Saint Peter, now the Gothic collegiate church of Saint Peter and Saint Guidon. This is the smallest beguinage in Belgium and used to house eight beguines. In popular parlance, the beguinage was known as the “Klaphuis”: the chatterbox.
A religious as well as lay institution
The buildings, comprising two wings, surround a delightful enclosed garden and provide a view of the collegiate church.
The Anderlecht Beguinage, both a religious and lay institution, was reserved for poor women. These women practised chastity and obedience but did not have to take perpetual vows and could leave the community.
© Jonathan Ortegat and Erasmus House & Beguinage museums
The beguinage, which became a hospice after the French Revolution, was turned into a museum in 1930. This museum was dismantled in 2021 for in-depth restoration of the building, work that has just been completed. For now the public will be able to discover the work done to restore the original appearance of this extraordinary, unique architectural heritage site in Europe.
A new museum project meeting the demands of a contemporary institution rooted in the present is now being developed.
Photos of the restored beguinage © Jonathan Ortegat and Erasmus House & Beguinage museums
Ubi amici, ibi opes
Your wealth is where your friends are
Erasmus, Adagium n°224 (I, III, 24)