Hidden Belgium: The brutalist church dedicated to the patron saint of impossible causes

Hidden Belgium: The brutalist church dedicated to the patron saint of impossible causes

One of the most extraordinary buildings in Belgium is located in the quiet town of Harelbeke, just outside Kortrijk. Begun in 1963, St Rita’s Church is dedicated to the patron saint of impossible causes. And this church does look as if it should not exist.

It was designed by Léon Stynen and Paul Demeyer in a bold brutalist style inspired by Le Corbusier. It took three years to construct the striking concrete structure, which rises above the surrounding houses like a huge tent.

The austere interior is illuminated by a shaft of light that streams through a large round window in the roof. No one visits this church, although it is one of the most impressive brutalist buildings in the country.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.


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