01 April - 01 November
Mon 9.00 - 17.00
Tue 9.00 - 17.00
Wed 9.00 - 17.00
Thu 9.00 - 17.00
Fri 9.00 - 17.00
Sat 9.00 - 17.00
Sun 9.00 - 17.00
+32 3 340 19 55
The beguinage of Hoogstraten probably originated around 1380 en prospered in the 17th century, having 160 beguines at its peak. The last beguine left in 1972.
A first chapel was built in 1381. During the 17th century this chapel was replaced by the current baroque church.
On the façade in baroque style we can see, among other things, a recess with braziers and a curved gable in which a wooden statue of the Mother Mary with Child was placed at the end of the 15th century. Above the door an engraved plaque with angel heads and a chronogram “eXtrVItVr Domus eXCeLsI (1687)” can be found. Within the recesses stand statues of Saint Peter and Saint Joan of Valois. Take a look at the cartouches with the inscriptions “Mijn huis is een huis des gebeds” (My house shall be called a house of prayer) (Matthew 21: 13) and “Wie vraagt zal verkrijgen” (For everyone who asks receives) (Matthew 7: 8).
The church has a lush interior painted in white. The floor, made of black and white marble, holds several tombstones dating back to the 17th, 18th and 19th century. The paintings in the choir (18th and 19th century) represent the Fathers and Our Lady of La Salette.
The church possesses numerous statues. Our Lady made of painted wood dates back to the 15th century, a wooden crucifix to the 16th century. There are also sculptures of Saint Begga (patroness of the beguines), John the Evangelist, Christ the Holy Savior and Our Lady Immaculata, Saint Liborius…
On the main altar stand statues of the Holy Trinity, Saint Joseph and Saint Anne. The painting represents The Last Supper (by Peter Sperwer, 1717). The side altars, made of marbled wood, are dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The latter has a silvered wooden statue of Saint Catherine and a painting showing the Holy Virgins worshipping the Holy Trinity.
The oak communion rails date back to the 17th century. The pulpit was made in the 18th century by Theodoor Verhaegen. Most wooden confessionals also dated back to the 17th century.
A unique renovation project
The beguinage now consists of 36 cottages, a barn and a church. In the early nineties the beguinage had become a ruin after many years of vacancy. In 1992 several citizens of Hoogstraten founded the association without lucrative purpose Het Convent and decided to save the beguinage from ruin. Each of the 34 members would restore one cottage. This extraordinary approach resulted in a very successful restoration, respecting the original elements and contemporary condition of the buildings. The project won several prizes, nationally and internationally. In 1998 the beguinage of Hoogstraten, together with 12 other Flemish beguinages, was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
Inventaris Bouwkundig Erfgoed (VIOE)
Toerisme Hoogstraten (www.toerisme.hoogstraten.be)
Het Convent vzw (www.hetconvent.be)