Restoration of the abbey
The City of Leuven launched the significant restoration campaign of all buildings and landscapes in 2011. The City of Leuven began the restoration with multiple partners via a lease agreement with the Norbertine fathers. The project is a large-scale cooperation with financial support from the government of Flanders.
First major phase: 2017
The west wing of the monastery was renovated in the first phase of the restoration; the dialogue museum PARCUM has been open to the public since 25 October 2017 in the beautifully restored western wing.
Second major phase: 2021
The second major phase of the restoration is now complete. The Provisor’s House and guest quarters were completed at the end of 2020. The beautiful library and refectory with the baroque and very dynamic looking stucco ceilings have been painstakingly restored, the cloister with its 17th-century stained-glass windows, the abbey’s residence and a number of salons will be permanently open to visitors.
The tithe barn (with stables and dairy) has been restored to its former glory. It is the home of the Abbey Farm, a partnership of various groups involved in organic urban farming.
Third and final phase: 2025
Next it’s the turn of the most visible part to visitors: the central courtyard, the Neerhof. The north and east wings and infirmary will also be restored. Eventually, the Norbertine fathers and student priests from KU Leuven will live there.
The restoration campaign will be completed in 2025.
The first abbey buildings to be restored were the old water mills (now a brewery) and the adjacent gatehouses. The west wing of the monastery was renovated housing the dialogue museum PARCUM.
Works have already be done in various buildings: the south wing, the Provisor’s House, the tithe barn (incl. the stables and milking parlour), and the Guest Quarters. The restoration of the 2.2 kilometres of walls must be completed by the end of this year.
The City of Leuven will also be focusing on the street art, the railway bridge, and the Geldenaaksebaan in the spring of 2018.
The Peace Carillon will create a pivotal point on 11 November 2018. The bells of the reconstructed carillon (based on a historical model) will ring again in the tower of the Sint-Jan-Evangelist Church after 100 years.
An office space and microbrewery opened in the Abbey’s Guest Quarters in time. By that time, the ‘Library of Voices’ of the Alamire Foundation was operational. Musical manuscripts, via digital media, were opened up to the general public in the Norbert Gate.
Completion in 2025
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. The East and North Wings and infirmary are being repurposed for mixed use by EAP (Abdij van Park Heritage Site) and KU Leuven university. Following the restoration, large parts of these buildings will subsequently be passed on to KU Leuven under a leasehold agreement.
One of the highlights is the 16th-century chapter house situated in the East Wing. The first floor of the East Wing and infirmary will house bedrooms and living quarters for the priests and students of the priesthood. The attic floor of the East Wing will accommodate an additional exhibition space.
A large-scale collaboration
The project is a large-scale collaboration with financial support from the government of Flanders. The City of Leuven began the restoration in 2011 with multiple partners by means of a lease agreement with the Norbertine fathers.