St. Pauls abbey, Oosterhout


Forced by anti-clerical laws the Benedictine community of Wisques, Northern France, took exile at Oosterhout in The Netherlands. Because they were forced to leave everything behind they were not able to hire a Dutch architect to design them a new abbey. The abbot of the Solesmes community (at that time starting Quarr abbey) sent the young Dom Bellot, to start building the new abbey at Oosterhout. It was the unexpected start of the unexpected career of the monk-architect Bellot...


Dom Paul Bellot was not used using brick for buildings and started study of brick building with Dutch architects as Berlage, Stuyt and Pierre Cuypers jr. Dom Bellot was bricklaying himself to learn all the possibilities of this material and in this first period of his work the abbey of St. Pauls was constructed. (1906-1907)

















Bellot uses the gothic style at first: his arches have the typical gothic form, with a top-stone in the middle.

Later he would use parabolic arches at the most projects made of brick, and multi-angled arches at his concrete based churches.



Very beautiful is the room which would act as chapel, but was intentionally ment to be the sacristy of the future church. This room is shown on the last picture and has a ceiling made of brick arches. The space between the arches is filled by little arches, with glass in between.  In 1918 this chapel is expanded with a sanctuary. Later this room was used as capitulary room for the monks.




In 1909 the abbey is expanded with a double cloister and with the part where the large kitchen is.

From 1914 until 1920 Dom Bellot draws plans for a large abbey-church but it has never been build. The plans for the sanctuary of this church would be the base of the sanctuary of the Waalwijk church (1925-1927). The present day abbey-church is added by the Dutch architect Sluymer.




The vault in the kitchen.




The Benedictine monks have left the abbey in 2006. Nevertheless the abbey is still used for a religious purpose. Nowadays the Chemin Neuf community is living and working in it.


photo's: A.W.A. Lukassen and A.A. Lukassen, summer 2014, winter 2017