In the spotlight
The latest news
Final restorations underway
Park Abbey's major restoration project will end on a high, with the superb restoration and repurposing of the East and North Wings and infirmary.
Organic urban farming and education
Dating back to 1663, the abbey farm – complete with tithe barn, cow sheds and milking parlour – has been fully restored in 2021. City of Leuven municipality made the deliberate choice to retain the appearance and centuries-old functions of these buildings.
Original 17th-century stained-glass windows reunited and back home
For the first time, 20 masterful recovered stained-glass panels from the 17th century will be reinstalled in the cloister.
The monastery library
The library has a 17th century stucco ceiling in relief, executed Jan-Christiaan Hansche.
People of the Abbey
City bee-keeper Staf about Park Abbey
Staf Kamers installed his first hives at the abbey's tithe barn in the 1980s. Now there is a beautiful, modern bee shed with 15 to 20 hives. Staf is re-establishing one of the abbey's original functions.
Locals about the abbey: Father Filip
Filip Noël, a monk and financial administrator at Abdij van Park, still lives together with four Norbertine monks at the abbey. “If we weren’t here, it would just be an old abbey.”
A shopkeeper about Park Abbey: Myriam
Myriam runs the Abbey shop. Over the past five years, this has grown from a head of lettuce under an umbrella into a fully fledged organic shop. “I’ve even had someone come in asking to buy consecrated wafers!”
Rik Torfs, once living in Park Abbey
We save treasures in the Park Abbey archive. One of these is a manuscript of the doctoral dissertation written by Professor Henri M.D.A.L. Torfs… better known as Rik. How did it get there?
Luc brings the carillon back to the abbey
The new Peace carillon will resound from the tower of the abbey church on November 11. One man will glow with pride: university carillonneur Luc Rombouts, who is behind the reconstruction.
Locals about Park Abbey: Zeger
Zeger Debyser is the chairman of the non-profit organisation ‘Friends of Park Abbey’. The Friends help to make the heritage accessible, to maintain the gardens, and to support the Abbey’s image. “Together, we make it even more beautiful here.”
Meet Johny, chairman of the KWB
The KWB Park Heverlee stands for social commitment. “We organise numerous activities, including the Park Festivities, brunches, excursions, etc. The goal is to bring people together”, explains chairman Johny Behets.
The archive’s volunteers
On a voluntary basis, local residents are unlocking the archives of Park Abbey. “You need to have a certain passion for old documents, and to sense when you are stumbling onto something valuable. But we form a good team”,
Meet Brecht, farmer at Park Abbey
Brecht Goussey (46) is one of the three farmers who run small-scale organic farms on the Abbey site. Brecht and his colleagues founded 'De BoerEnCompagnie' in 2017. “I always wanted to be a farmer when I was little."
André: the intruder who became organist
André Kockaerts (72) may have spent more time on the Abbey site than anyone else. He is sexton, organist, choir leader, and much more. And he also has the gift of the gab...
Our prior wrote a PhD
On 2 September, all eyes were on an unusual PhD candidate in the Promotion Hall of KU Leuven. Jozef (Jef) Van Osta, prior of Park Abbey, defended his thesis there on the history of organ building in Averbode Abbey. His thesis is 570 pages thick!
Meet Wilfried, the grandson of the abbey's cook
Wilfried Van de Sande has been coming to Park Abbey since he was little. All thanks to his grandfather, who used to live in the Maria gate. "I even thought of starting a restaurant there once!”
Behind the scenes of the brasserie
Frank Mertens at the ‘De Abdijmolen’ brasserie strings his superlatives together when it comes to the Park Abbey. “No wonder our terrace is always full,” he smiles.
More news and stories about Park Abbey
Meet our visitors
Tourist about Park Abbey: Nelly
Bulgarian tourist Aneliya visited the abbey site together with a friend who lives here in Belgium. She was deeply impressed. “This place has a soul. It’s like the abbey is wrapped in mysticism and silence.”
Locals about Park Abbey: Sofie
Sofie and her family live close to the Abdij van Park. “We’re really city people, but very much enjoy wandering around the Abbey."
Professor about Park Abbey: Paul
Professor Paul De Grauwe (71) has been visiting Park Abbey for years. “It's an important place, both religiously and culturally. I’ve passed by there many times during my career, but now I go there more than ever.”
Locals about Park Abbey: Sylvan
Mercy Sylvan Nafulah (26) discovered the abbey thanks to her boyfriend Marcel, who planned their romantic first date there. It was perfect. “When we’re here, we really make time for each other,” Sylvan says happily.
Locals about Park Abbey: Charlotte
Charlotte (22) and her dog Spike take walks through Park Abbey three or four times every day. “We enjoy the birds, the peace, the ponds… There is always something to see – I come home with a new story every day.”
Birdwatcher about Park Abbey: Jogchum
Birdwatcher Jogchum (41) often takes his children to Abdij van Park. “There are so many great animal species there. My sons are seeing these animals for the first time and their enthusiasm is infectious.”
Locals about the abbey: Chantale
Amateur photographer Chantale comes to the Abbey site. “The way the light falls on the Park Abbey is particularly beautiful. When you go for a walk there, you constantly have something different in your line of view.”
Visitors about Park Abbey: Jana
Park Abbey is where Jana goes to find peace and quiet. “It’s close to the city, yet the city feels very far away. Here you can forget the pressures of daily life for a little while.”
Locals about Park Abbey: Sarah
Sarah, 25, thinks Park Abbey is a fantastic place to spend time. “If you visit the Abbey often enough, you’ll see that the seasons are clearly defined here!”
Locals about Park Abbey: Karen
Karen often takes a stack of books with her to Park Abbey. “I thinks it’s the idyllic place to devour a book. It is absolutely silent, letting you get fully immersed in the story.”
Locals about Park Abbey: Sven
Cyclist Sven often passes through Park Abbey. “There is nothing that gets on your nerves at the abbey: no traffic, no ugly buildings along the road… Being there makes me feel truly happy.”
Tourists about Park Abbey: Manu and Leilani
Manuel from the Netherlands visited Park Abbey together with his girlfriend, Leilani, 25. “We fully enjoyed the ambiance of the Abbey. There’s nothing like it in Amsterdam.”
Locals about Park Abbey: Asli
Asli Tezcan and her family are fervent visitors of parks all over the world. Recenlty, the Park Abbey gained a special place in their heart.
Locals about Park Abbey: Mano
Mano Jai (23) got to know the abbey as a student. “In my third year I chanced upon the abbey. Suddenly I was surrounded by green splendour! I fell in love instantly.”
Locals about Park Abbey: Raf
Raf has lived near the abbey for more than 10 years. He sees the site every day. “It is a beautiful nature reserve close to the city and near my home."
Eline: "It’s so beautiful here"
Eline (31) likes to spend her free time taking walks. “I regularly go to Park Abbey because it’s so beautiful there. While I’m walking there, I like to reminisce about my grandparents, who brought me to the abbey site when I was young,” she says.