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Begijnof, Breda, The Netherlands (September 2015)

Breda’s Begijnhof is a complex surrounded by walls consisting of houses and a small church in the center of Breda. The twenty nine houses are divided into two courtyards are grouped around a herb garden. Here is also a statuette of two beguines in conversation. It is located close to the Valkenberg Park.

The beguines lived here since the late 12th century as a movement of Catholic women who wanted to live a life of contemplation and prayer in chastity.

The beguinage established in 1267 on land that was donated by Henry, the lord of Breda. The beguines were mostly of noble birth. This first Beguinage was located at the present Castle Square in the Castle of Breda current Royal Military Academy. The foundations of which were laid bare in the late nineties and studied.

In 1525, Count Henry III of Nassau-Breda, Lord of Breda, decided to expand the Castle of Breda into a Renaissance palace. The Beguine had to vacate. In 1535, the beguines moved to its current location on Catherine Street. Here they were provided with the St. Wendelinus Chapel. Most of the houses were replaced in the 17th century.

Because of links with the house of Orange-Nassau enjoyed the Beguine after the Reformation protection of the Oranges making it the only Catholic institution in the city might persist. However, in 1590 the chapel was confiscated and converted into a Walloon church. This feature retains the building up to now. The beguines founded following two houses on the north side of the Beguine in the church. Only in 1837, the beguines could again have a real church, a small building in neoclassical style.

There is a museum near by that showcases more information about the nunnery. I enjoyed about a half an hour in this pretty little garden. Autumn is quickly coming and I embraced such a beautiful, warm day by spending it outdoors.

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