The religion wars of the sixteenth century set Flanders ablaze. Bosgeuzen, feared throngs of robbers, targeted countryside abbeys, churches and little towns as reprisal against the Spanish occupiers.  The Benedicitine sisters of Gistel, some 20 miles away from Bruges, fled their convent and refuge in Bruges. In 1623 they purchased a Boeveriestraat house with grounds, known as  "Fontainken" (fountain). The first three sisters moved in, while the other sisters remained on Ganzenstraat. In 1626 a new convent was formed, with the assistance of the abbess of Douai Abbey. The sisters were brought together on Boeveriestraat. This was the start of a history extending for almost four centuries in Bruges.

Over that period society changed a great deal, as did the site. The convent on Boeveriestraat grew from a single little house to an impressive property in the Bruges city centre. And all that time it continued to function as a closed, self-supporting community. The high walls, the tiny wooden cells and the iron 'gate' in the chapel; they all remind visitors of the historic 'silent' roots of this place. 
Off course, the Benedictine sisters kept a detailed record of all major milestones in the abbey’s construction and expansion.
Brugge Foundation aspires to find a new destination for the abbey. An unique opportunity to repurpose an important monumental historical gem; open its beautiful gardens to the general public and harbour new, future-oriented functions.


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