Belgium's smallest beguinage partially open to visitors again
The smallest beguinage of Belgium is partially open to visitors again as it prepares for a full reopening in 2023.
Beguinages are where so-called beguines -- women who devoted themselves to God while not entirely retreating from society – would live together in a walled community.
This particular beguinage was so small, it lodged only eight people at a time.
Located in the commune of Anderlecht in Brussels, the humble community, that lived in a building adjacent to the Erasmus House and the church of St Peter and St Guido, are a must for anyone passing through this part of Brussels.
Two wings make up the beguinage, in the middle of which is a little walled garden highlighted by a well in the middle of it.
Not only is it the smallest beguinage in Belgium, but it is also one of the oldest, as it dates back to the second half of the 13th century, to the year 1252. Beguines lived there until around the time of the French revolution, when the building served a new purpose as hospice and a shelter for women in need. Such remained its function until 1928. It became a museum only in the 20th century until it closed for renovations in 2021.
The 2022 Heritage Days in Brussels were the first occasion for the general public to take a look inside the historical place as its transformation continues.
The new museum will also elucidate the history of the Beguines, and of Anderlecht, going all the way back to Roman times.