A railway bridge through the abbey of Villers

In the picturesque town of Villers-la-Ville in the province de Brabant Wallon the Belgian railway network operator, Infrabel is renewing two railway bridges. They are 166 years old and are in need of a thorough overhaul. A small design detail: the bridges run right through the domain of the former abbey of Villers-la-Ville.

This abbey was founded by St. Bernard in the year 1147. However, the Church and cloister were not built until between 1198 and 1209. The monastery was destroyed in the 16th century by the Spaniards and the Beggars. In 1587 the monks decided to build a fortified wall around the abbey. The Austrians plundered the buildings again in 1789 and not much later, in 1795 the French occupied the abbey and expelled the monks, never to return.

Picture by Pixabay

Today you can visit the courtyard, the remains of the monastery, and the church via a signposted circuit. but the remarkable thing is that two railway bridges now run through the ruins of the abbey. You can find more about the abbey here