In the EU capital, churches are now restaurants

Whether or not one cares about the state of Belgium's churches, there is something eerily prophetic in their abandonment.

Giulio Meotti,

giulio meott
giulio meott
צילום: עצמי

The Church of St. Catherine, built in 1874, dominates the historic center of Brussels. It is the only religious building built in the city’s “pentagon” at the end of Ancien Régime and today is one of the more protected ones in the European Union capital after the terror attacks.

The city of Brussels, however, had declared its intention to convert the church into a fruit and vegetable market. Only the mobilization of the faithful hindered the city's plan.


In Malonne, the chapel of Piroy has been transformed into a brewery.
But the Church of St. Catherine is not a rare case in Belgium: 90 churches are in imminent danger in the country. The Church of Saint-Hubert in Watermael-Boitsfort is expected to accommodate apartments, while the Church of the Holy Family of Schaerbeek is waiting for a potential investor. With the radical reduction of the faithful, many churches have been abandoned. 

In Malonne, the chapel of Piroy has been transformed into a brewery.

In Namur, the Saint-Jacques Church was transformed into a clothing store.

In Tournai, the Church of St. Margherita has been transformed into a series of apartments.

Also in Namur, the Church of Notre Dame, built in 1749 and deconsecrated in 2004, it is now a “cultural space”. The square will be redeveloped, with ticketing services and catering. Dozens of exhibitions, concerts and fashion shows have already been held in the church.

La Libre national newspaper reveals the fate of Belgian christianity. Half of the country's churches risk conversion or abandonment. 35 churches out of 110 in Brussels will be closed since Christian practitioners are just 1.5 percent of the population of the European Union’s capital, according to a 2010 survey at the University of Leuven. 

The first to break the taboo, in 2008, was Philip Heylen, Vice Mayor of Antwerp, who invited the city to use these churches as Islamic places of worship. In Brussels, about half of the children in state schools are Muslim.

Eight centuries after its founding, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament at Binche, a majestic building in the heart of a medieval town about fifty kilometers from Brussels, was put on sale for the symbolic sum of 1 euro. 

In the meantime in Mechelen, Flanders, a luxury hotel has arisen in place of a Gothic church. Christian arches, columns and windows are still in place between menus and tables for customers. Once the pride of Gothic architecture of Belgium, the hotel now is ranked among the five most beautiful in the world.

In the future Belgium will be dominated by 295 mosques (77 in Brussels alone) and the transparent buildings of EU and NATO.

Jewish synagogues, now protected as military bases, will also be abandoned as the Jews depart due to anti-Semitism.

Brussels will be turned into a postmodern mecca for Islam. 


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