Val-Dieu, 800 years which are worth seeing

Val Dieu and its history.

The Abbey of Val Dieu has been the witness of this incredible Cistercian development which started in 1098 when the Abbey of Citeaux has been founded in Burgundy.  The pillar of this Cistercian spirit is the Rule of St Benedict which combines prayer and work.  The first years of the Monastery of Citeaux have been difficult but with Bernard de Clervaux joining the Order, it started the spiritual and economic development of the whole Europe of the Middle Age.  In less than two centuries, 700 monasteries where founded in Europe.  Bernard de Clervaux founded 68 of them, among which he founded the Abbey of Eberbach in Germany.

The Abbey of Val Dieu has been founded in 1216 by monks coming from Eberbach and who transited through Hocht (near Maastricht).  Val Dieu is consequently a grand-daughter of Saint Bernard !

Located along the border of what were at the time the County of Dahlem and the Dukedom of Limburg, the foundation of the Abbey of Val Dieu will be the beginning of the ground clearing which will give later the so characteristic Pays de Herve.

The monastery will not escape any conflict : struggles between the feudal lords, succession and religion wars and the French Revolution which forced the monks to find exile in the Netherlands.  The church has been demolished four times and each time has been rebuilt in the Cistercian format, as it is still today.

After the revolutionary turmoil, the abbey has been restored which allowed the monks to come back in the middle of the 19th century.  Today, the Abbey of Val Dieu is the only Cistercian site which still exists in Belgium with its historical buildings.

Val-Dieu today

Val-Dieu is located in a very charming valley which will go straight to your heart.  The calm surrounding this place brings you serenity and peace.
This location is giving sense to the whole region. For many visitors, the Abbey of Val Dieu has become a point of reference.
In Val Dieu tourists and pilgrims mix with each other, because both are warmly welcome.  Beer and cheese remind them also of the Cistercian know-how.
Val-Dieu is multilingual and brings all cultures together.
Val-Dieu which is located in the center of Euregio (exactly at equal distance – 25 km – from Liege, Maastricht and Aachen) and is particularly known by the Dutch and German visitors.
If Val Dieu is rich of its past, it is also rich of its future.  In 2001, the Christian Community of Val Dieu has been entrusted by the Abbey of Lerins  (oldest monastery in France – 5th century – on the Island of St Honorat, near Cannes) with the spiritual life of the abbey.  This project is in harmony with the spirit which has always been present in Val Dieu for eight centuries.  It is inspired by the Rule of St Benedict and the Benedictine and Cistercian traditions.
Val-Dieu has many facets and can inspire everyone.
Really, Val Dieu is worth seeing.