In 1623, the abbess of the Bridgettine convent in Dendermonde decided to move some of her congregation to Brussels. The order built its first convent in the city in 1625. A second followed in 1652, and a chapel adjoining this, designed by the Mechelen-based architect Leo Van Heil, was consecrated in 1672. The chapel lost its tower during the 1695 bombardment of Brussels and much later, in 1923, saw its ribbed vaulting disappear. Deconsecrated in 1784, it served successively as a prison, an almshouse, a school, a brewery, a book depository, a pharmacy, an arsenal, a butcher’s shop, and a dance hall! It was ultimately bought by the City of Brussels and in 1953 the entire site was granted listed status. In 1839 and 1850, repairs were carried out to the façade and between 1964 and 1975 the building underwent complete restoration under the direction of the architects P. Lessine and J. Rombaux. During these works, the original Lede sandstone was replaced with Massangis limestone. Despite the improvements, the building remained empty until 1997, when the not-for-profit association ‘Les Brigittines/City of Brussels Cultural Centre’ took it over. Alongside the chapel there is now an unabashedly contemporary ‘twin’. Designed by the architect Andrea Bruno, this annexe, clad in Corten steel, was completed in 2007. The nave in the original building plays host to dance shows, concerts, conferences, and interactive events involving local residents. The different spaces are also available to choreographers, dancers, and other creative individuals keen to develop their own contemporary language of performance. (Listed 30/06/1953)
Guided tours, Sat. at 10h00, 11h00, 12h00, 14h00, 15h00, 16h00, 17h00 (French) and at 10h30, 11h30, 12h30, 14h30, 15h30, 16h30, 17h30 (Dutch). In cooperation with Brussels Chatterguides and Korei.
Petite Rue des Brigittines/Korte Brigittinenstraat 1, Brussels
Sat. only from 10h00 to 18h00