Aarschot Things to Do

  • s shopping street
    s shopping street
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  • Beguinage
    Beguinage
    by JosM
  • "Grauwzuster", or, Grey Nun
    by JosM

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    Grauwzuster (Grey nun)

    by JosM Written Apr 18, 2007

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    The "Grauwzusters" (Grey nuns) treated the ill in Aarschot for centuries. The hospital ("Gasthuis") was closed in the eighties of the 20th century. Roland Rens, the deplored sculpturer, scooped them in an elegant way to honour their devotion to the helpless.

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    Our-Lady's Church

    by JosM Updated Feb 3, 2006

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    The river Demer with the church
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    In the 17th century Aarschot regained some of its wealth. Money for redecoration of the church interiors became available. The exuberant baroque became prominent. In 1893 Leonardus Drijvers built a large neo-romantic organ with 36 stops. This enormous organ found a place opposite the main altar. Major restorations at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century changed the interiors thoroughly. In 1896-1897 the stained glass artist Joseph Casier (from Ghent) placed 4 beautiful neo-gothic stained glass windows. In the next years the white plastering was removed from the pillars and the walls.
    The newly decorated church escaped hardly from total destruction in 1914. Fire was set on in the church by German troops. Happily damage was limited to the north entrance and a nearby baroque altar. Professor canon Lemaire designed a new main altar in black marble. Bombings during the Second World War again caused severe damage. In the fifties the modern glass stained windows replaced the old destroyed ones. The last major restoration happened between 1971 and 1987.
    From 1200 tot 1876 the old cemetery was on the lawn next to the church. In 1927 a statue of the Holy Heart was erected on the lawn.
    Another statue, which was donated in 1979 by the family Troukens-Peeters (owners of several large stores just outside the city center), depicts St-Rochus, who is believed to have saved Aarschot from the plague. Created by Roland Rens.

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    Father Raskin

    by JosM Updated May 18, 2005

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    Father Raskin

    Statue by Tony-Luc Blickx of Father Raskin who was decapitated in Dortmund during WW II (Oct.18, 1943) for being a member of a resistance group.
    His espionage group was founded in the summer of 1940. Raskin's nickname was Leopold Vindictive. He made sketches of the Atlantikwall with its numerous fortifications. By the end of April 1942 the Germans discovered his identity and he was caught in a trap. He stayed in several prisons for the next 17 months and endured repeated torturing.
    At the end of August 1943 the German Volksgericht (Peoples' court) convicted him to 7 times dead penalty.

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    Onze-Lieve-Vrouwkerk (Our-Lady's Church)

    by JosM Updated Dec 26, 2004

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    Our-Lady's Church

    This impressive Gothic building was constructed between 1337 and 1450. The choir and the windows that reach up to the ceiling are a design from the French architect Jacob Piccart. The names of his successors are not known. For the construction of the church and the tower 3 different kinds of stone have been used: iron holding sandstone from local quarries, white chalkstone from Gobertange and brick in the white painted vaults. The pillars without capitals and the bacon-like walls (alternating horizontal layers of brown sandstone and white chalkstone) are typical for the area around the river Demer ("Demergotiek"). The Renaissance-style spire dates from 1574.
    In 1489 the interiors of the church were destroyed by fire. The redecoration with beautiful late-gothic artworks was financed by rich canons, wealthy citizens, and members of the House of Croy. From this 16th century glory almost nothing was left after the hard times of rebellion and war against the Spanish King Philip II and his governors Alva and Don Juan. The iconoclasm of 1566 did not harm Aarschot, but in 1578 Spanish and rebellion armies alike plundered the city and the church several times. Pieces of art were stolen, altars destroyed, statues burned and all the clocks of the chimes thrown out of the tower. Even a miraculous statue of Our Lady was cut to pieces. For dozens of years the church would remain a robbed ruin.

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    Illumination

    by JosM Updated Jun 12, 2004

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    Beguinage

    Each year, the evening of August 15th, the city says thanks to Saint-Rochus for saving the city from the plague. On this evening all public illumination is switched off and replaced by candlelight. In the centre of the city the streets and houses and public buildings are illuminated by thousands of candles. Visitors from all over the region come to see the beautiful beguinage, train station, city park, firework building and several districts.

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    Our Lady's church

    by Taffi Written Jul 7, 2003

    Aarschot's main church was built out of local ferrous sandstone, alternating with white stone, a style commonly known as "bacon".

    The church itself is gothic and was begun in the 14th century. The present renaissance spire was added after the original spire was struck by lightning.

    The interior is well worth a visit, but currently closed for restoration.

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    CC Gasthuis

    by JosM Updated May 1, 2004

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    CC Gasthuis

    De lach (The Laughter) - statue by Roland Rens at the site of the cultural center Gasthuis. A drawing of the statue serves as symbol for the cultural center.

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    Grenadier Guard

    by JosM Updated Jan 4, 2004

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    Grenadier Guard

    Bronze statue by Roland Rens for the remembrance of the liberation of the city by the British Grenadier Guards in 1944.

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    Demerwachter

    by JosM Updated Jan 4, 2004

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    Demerwachter

    Statue (bronze, 3.20 m high) by Roland Rens, a local artist, called the Demerwachter (the river Demer's Watcher).

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Aarschot Things to Do

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