The picturesque chapel of Steenbergen is situated in the middle of the woods of Oud-Heverlee. According to some sources, the veneration of Mary on this spot goes back to before the year 1500.
The baroque chapel of Our Lady of Steenbergen is located in the wooded surroundings of the Sweet Water in Oud-Heverlee. According to some sources, the veneration of Mary on this spot began before the year 1500. At that time, a statue of Mary hung from an oak tree, near the ponds of the Sweet Water and the Minne spring. Miraculous healings were attributed to the spring, which brought with it an influx of pilgrims. In 1651 lord Hendrik van Dongelberghe had the present chapel built, one of the largest in Flanders.
In 1975, the statue of Mary was stolen from the chapel, but that did not stop 'The true friends of Steenbergen' from holding the annual procession on August 15th. After the death of the eldest daughter of the Vonckx-Spreutels family, the family took over the upkeep of the chapel, which marked the start of the revival and restoration of the chapel. Thanks to a broad collaboration with, among others, Erfgoed Vlaanderen, the chapel of Steenbergen received a full restoration and on 26 May 2006 Cardinal Danneels blessed the restored chapel again.
The chapel is kept alive thanks to the voluntary Friends of Our Lady of Steenbergen. These volunteers are the heart and engine of the chapel's operation. They ensure a warm welcome and bring the story of the chapel to visitors from a personal commitment and they provide tailor-made tours for groups.
The wooden gate of the chapel is opened daily so that visitors can admire the entire interior of the chapel through the glass door. The glass also shows the brief history of the chapel, so that every visitor can get to know the site's cultural-historical value. Because of its location on Het Zoet Water, hundreds of walkers and cyclists often pass by the chapel during weekends and on beautiful summer days. Many of them walk in for a moment of rest and to admire the baroque monument.
Until today, the chapel and its surroundings remain a place where people come to rest and experience their faith. The experience of the Kapel van Steenbergen shows that heritage plays an important role in our modern society.
The daily management and administration of the site is taken care of by the Friends of Our Lady of Steenbergen. They are responsible for basic maintenance, safety and the organization of celebrations and events. Herita will also conclude a cooperation agreement with this enthusiastic group of volunteers.