Experience Cuypers’ architecture in monastery Bovendonk in Hoeven
At the same spot where Bovendonk monastery is now located, there used to be an outdoor residence for the monks of the Abbey of Hemiksem near Antwerp, from as early as 1232. For centuries, these monks have controlled the area between Bergen op Zoom and Breda from Uithof Bovendonk. Various wars were fought in the region and the estate has had various owners, including Napoleon and William of Orange. Apparently, Napoleon stayed at the monastery branch for some time.
The ‘white building’ is the administrative centre of the monks in the region. After several expansions and renovations, the estate started to take on its current form with a tithe barn, farms and various building. In 1853, the Diocese of Breda was founded at Bovendonk and the building is used for priest studies, becoming a seminary. Students from all over the south of the Netherlands flock to Bovendonk. The popularity of the study is growing and soon the existing building no longer suffices.
In 1895, renowned architect Pierre Cuypers is commissioned by the diocese to design a new seminar. He has previously built the Rijksmuseum, Vondelkerk and the Basilica of Oudenbosch. The remarkable building built by Pierre Cuypers is the current Bovendonk, minus the chapel. His motto ‘no symmetry, but harmony’ is reflected in many details: From the friezes above the windows to the floors in the corridors and the colonnades in the courtyard.
Bovendonk is one of the most remarkable buildings in the municipality of Halderberge. It still houses the seminary of the Diocese of Breda. But the building is also in use as a hotel, brasserie, wedding venue and conference centre. There are guided tours at Bovendonk throughout the year, but in summer months tours are organised on a weekly basis. Visiting the property is free of charge. In case of a wedding or party, some parts of the building might be closed for public.
While visiting Bovendonk you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee, home-brewed beer, lunch or dinner at the Brasserie, its terrace or the courtyard garden. The menu is full of tasty dishes for both big and smaller appetites. Bovendonk is also the perfect starting point for cyclists and hikers who want to explore the region. There are maps and routes available at the reception and e-bikes can be charged for free at the front of the building.
A visit to West-Brabant starts at Hotel Bovendonk. The priests’ study rooms and lodgings have been turned into comfortable hotel rooms. The 48 rooms look out over the surrounding estate or the inner garden of the monastery. Bovendonk is centrally located between Breda, Bergen op Zoom and Willemstad and is the perfect location for a cultural and historic weekend trip in the Netherlands. Oudenbosch is only 5 kilometers from Hoeven, so the Basilica, St. Louis and other sights can be reached within a few minutes.
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