Oudergem (or Auderghem in French) is a municipality, located in the south-east of the Belgian capital. It is home to the Abbey of Rood-Klooster (Rouge-Cloître in French), which literally means Red Cloister. This is a place where culture, history and nature go hand in hand.
The abbey was founded in mid 14th century and is located in the Sonian Forest, at the outskirts of Oudergem. The origin of the name of this abbey remains a bit unclear to this day. It could refer to the colour of (one of) the original buildings, red (“rood” in Dutch).
The place no longer functions as a monastery. In fact, it was demolished at the end of the 18th century. In the 20th century, the place first became the property of the Belgian state, later of the Region of Brussels. Reconstruction took place from 1997 to 2007. Part of it has been converted into an arts centre, which was unfortunately closed at the time of my visit. There is also a bistro at the site.
The fact that there is an arts centre here is probably not a coincidence. Lots of Belgian artists found inspiration in these landscapes.
There is also a playground, where lots of energetic children can have fun. Parents and/or grandparents were picnicking around this area.
Most people, however, come here for the beautiful surroundings: forests, lakes and swamps. Choose a path and go for a stroll.
The arts centre has an official website, which unfortunately is only available in French. It will give you an idea however of the entrance fee and the ongoing exhibitions.
Most people come to Rood-Klooster/Rouge-Cloître by car or bike. There are a couple of possibilities however if you decide to use public transport. You can take tram number 44 and get off at the nearby Avenue de Tervuren/Tervurenlaan. Tram 44 starts at the metro station of Montgomery and takes you through some of the most beautiful corners of Brussels. The second possibility is taking the metro to Hermann-Debroux and take bus number 34. You have to descend at the Chaussée de Tervuren/Tervuursesteenweg; ask the bus driver where exactly.