The beguinage of Tongeren

Beguines were living in Tongeren even before 1239. These women, who did not want to choose between marriage and the nunnery, established a home for themselves at a walled site at the Moeren Gate. These ‘spinsters’ built an independent life for themselves in the Sint-Catharina Beguinage.

A city within the city

At its zenith in the 18th century the beguinage consisted of 300 beguines living in 100 houses. But this all changed in 1798 during the turbulent period unleashed by the French Revolution. The beguinage was expropriated and several houses and walls were integrated into the city. Today the cobblestoned streets, picturesque courtyards, beguine houses and religious buildings of Tongeren’s beguinage still exude an air of tranquillity. No wonder that this enchanting ‘miniature city within a city’ is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Museum Beghina

Discover how the beguines lived at Beghina, the beguinage museum located in the idyllic courtyard Onder de Linde.


Shortly after 1262 the beguines built an infirmary to care for the elderly and

beguines. You can still enjoy the tranquil atmosphere....and delicious meals. The present complex, which was built in 1659, has a brasserie where you can dine in one of Tongeren’s most beautiful historical buildings.

Ursula chapel

The Ursula chapel is located next to the infirmary. This chapel was dedicated to Saint Ursula in 1294. Nowadays the restored chapel is a baroque venue for chamber concerts, exhibitions, recitals and other cultural events.

Beguinage church

The beguinage church dates from the end of the 13th century and is dedicated to the beguinage’s patron saint, Saint Catherine. It is currently closed to the public. But fortunately, visitors can still admire The Lily Pond on the grass square in front of the church. This mysterious modern sculpture evokes reveries and inspires introspection and meditation.

If your group would like a tour of the beguinage with your own guide, please see our programmes for groups and schools