The "historical" trappist breweries

The abbey of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Tegelen (Netherlands)

At the beginning of the year 1884, a wind of impiety blew on Belgium. An anti-religious policy made the religious orders afraid of severe measurements of control. Persecution threatened to prevail against the priests and the monks. At that time, a priest of the Flemish village of Wareghem, close to Courtrai, Mr. De Coninck, offered the abbot of Westmalle the sum of 15,000 Guilders to build a monastery abroad and thus put at least some of their goods in safety.

Dom Benoit Wuyts, then abbot of Westmalle, saw in this generous gesture a providential indication which spared a refuge for the community in the event of misfortune, and he accepted the offer promptly. Dom Benoit and Mr. De Coninck entered immediately in negotiation for the purchase of a farm located near Venlo, in the Dutch Limbourg, in Tegelen, an old village between Roermond and Venlo. The property seemed appropriate for the establishment of a Trappist community: it was truly a lonely place surrounded by wood and heathers. Very near to the German border, it included 23 hectares of neglected ground, on which the farm, dwellings, and dependences were built. The first discussions took place with the owner in March, and during April the bargain was concluded.

The first monks arrived in June 1884. At the beginnings, the situation of the monks was not ideal: they slept in an attic and sometimes, during the night, were awaked by the rain. Some generous hearts came to help and assist by sending them cattle, coal, food. One soon thought of building, and the existing buildings were raised and lengthened. In 1887, the provisional vault was finished. With the passing of years, the applicants presented themselves regularly and the community ended up counting more than 60 monks about 1909.

During the war 1914-1918, the abbey of Tegelen was used as refuge for many monks of the abbeys of Achel and Westmalle.

Seriously damaged during the second world war, the monastery was rebuilt after the liberation.


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