Last week, a 10.4 km monastery walk around the Abbey of Berne in Heeswijk-Dinther was inaugurated. “Our Monastery path” is a series of fifteen walks that is about 330km. Heeswijk-Dinther is the first in this series.
The walk starts and ends at the beautiful garden of Norbertine Abbey, where you will find a VisitBrabant route map (take a picture with your mobile!) which takes you past forests, through fields, and along rivers and brooks. The Abbey of Berne itself has a beautiful shop selling books and products produced in various monasteries in Brabant, including the beers brewed in this Abbey. One can start the walk with some coffee and apple pie or end it with a beer. But why not go for the full monty and combine the walk with a tour of the Abbey, which includes a film about beer brewing and beer tasting. You can find all information on the Abbey website, unfortunately only in Dutch, but Mr Google has made dealing with such hick-ups easy.
The Abbey in itself is enough reason to make your way to Heeswijk-Dinther (if you go by bus via a stopover in Veghel: buy yourself a day ticket, another option is the train to Den Bosch and then a bus). The walk takes in yet another highlight that in itself is worth the travel: castle Heeswijk. The 19th-century interior is as close as you can get to time travel. The remains of its once world-famous art collection though much of it was auctioned off early last century, ensures the castle can wear its museum status with pride (entry is free for those with a museum pass if you don’t have one yet: get one now!). All of that in a real castle that is a joy for visitors of all ages. With a bit of planning, you can combine the walk, the Abbey, and the castle all in one very memorable day!
The Abbey walk uses the VisitBrabant walking route network. It is thus easy to follow, as with all of the coming abbey walking circuits and the “Our Monastery path” connecting them and 35 other monasteries and abbeys in North Brabant. This long-distance walking path and its monastery-based circuits are an initiative of Brabant monastics, who, in collaboration with municipalities and VisitBrabant, want to tell the story of their centuries-old lifestyle. Dutch society has gone through an extremely fast secularisation process since the 1960s, which has obscured the formerly dominant position of monastics in education, health care, and intellectual life in Brabant. But for the curious ones, this recent history is still evident all around us. Since the opening of Our Monastery Path last spring, thousands have already walked. It also speaks to their ongoing role as places of slowing down and reflection, something all of us busybodies can do with.
Source: VisitBrabant Routebureau
For Eindhoven News: Roger Henke
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