The French Community has agreed to buy the two-thirds of the La Cambre abbey in Ixelles from the defence ministry, it was announced.
The agreement comes after a year of negotiations, with the price, according to a spokesperson for minister Frédéric Daerden, “between seven and 14 million euros”. The minister declined to be more exact for the time being.
The abbey sits in a shallow basin of the Maalbeek river below Avenue Louise leading down to the Ixelles ponds near Place Flagey. And while the grounds are open to the public, the buildings are currently occupied in part by the French-speaking art and design school La Cambre, and in part by the National Geographic Institute (NGI), part of the ministry of defence.
Under the new owners, the facilities for the school will be extended, in order to help ease overcrowding at the school’s departments on Avenue Louise. The NGI, on the other hand, has until 16 March to move out to make way for the art school. They will move to the campus of the military academy near Cinquantenaire.
The La Cambre abbey was founded in 1201 by a Brussels noblewoman and given to the Cistercian order of Citeaux. The buildings suffered damage during the period of religious upheaval, but were reconstructed in the 16th century and extended in the 18th, Some parts of the church itself date back to the 14th century.
The Brussels Times