Come and discover the first gymnasium that was open to middle class students. St. Louis, the former boarding school for boys, is one of the largest buildings in Oudenbosch. This boy’s home was famous all across the nation and had pupils from all over the Netherlands because of the high level of education. The grand courtyard and chapel are certainly worth visiting. The guides at St. Louis open the chapel to the public every Wednesday and Sunday afternoon, and love to tell you more about the extraordinary history of the boarding school and its relationship to the wealth of Oudenbosch. When visiting Halderberge, a trip to St. Louis, the courtyard and the chapel should definitely be on your list.
In 1840, pastor Hellemons founded a monastic order to educate the youth of Oudenbosch. The boarding school is run by the Congregation of the Brothers of the Holy Aloysius Conzaga, better known as the friars of St. Louis. It all starts on a small scale, with just a few students and a superior, Father Vincentius. Soon the number of pupils is growing and more and more students from other places than Oudenbosch are admitted. The small home is extended with various new structures: the Maria home, the Vincentius building and the Aloysius building. These buildings are built around a large courtyard called the Cour. Finally, the chapel of St. Louis is built to close off the square.
The Chapel dates from 1865 and was designed by Th. Florschutz, the art teacher at the institute, and Josephus Boosten, a friar. The chapel, like the Basilica, is reminiscent of St. Peter’s Chapel in Rome. Which is not surprising, as the first sketches were made by pastor Willem Hellemons. He’d studied in Rome and was impressed by Roman architecture.
The construction of the chapel started at the same time as the construction of the basilica, but the chapel was already in use by 1866. The 30 metre high dome was realised in 1889, by professor Dr. C.J. van Swaay, a former student of the institute. In the chapel you’ll find beautiful decorations and ornaments, such as flower and leaf motifs on the ceiling and statues in the niches.
The organ is made by Van Bijlaardt and dates from 1883. Over the years, the other boarding school buildings were converted to apartments, a nursing home and a hotel. The chapel, former boarding school buildings and the cemetery are on the list of national heritage.
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