Park Abbey

Jan Christiaen Hansche

Stucco ceiling
Abdij van Park

At Park Abbey you will come face to face with the legacy of the Norbertines. These ‘Princes of Park’ left an impressive collection of literature and art.

Abdij van Park

Park Abbey

Park Abbey is known as one of the best preserved abbey sites in Western Europe. In addition to the abbey and its associated church, the site also includes a farm complex and a vast estate of meadows and ponds. Although the abbey mainly dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries, its history goes back to 1129, when the Duke of Brabant donated his hunting grounds in Leuven to the Norbertines. Known as prosperous and powerful, the Norbertines of Park were nicknamed the "Princes of Park". They led privileged lives focusing on literature and art. For example, the abbey library once housed a famous collection of manuscripts and old prints. The prelates embellished the interior with works of art, such as Jean de Caumont’s stained glass windows in the cloister aisle and Jan Christiaen Hansche's stucco ceilings.

Stucco ceiling, Jan Christiaen Hansche

In 1679 Abbot De Pape asked the Southern Netherlands artist Jan Christiaen Hansche to decorate the abbey's refectory. Hansche designed an impressive stucco ceiling in high relief depicting Old and New Testament tales based on an ingenious programme that emphasized the importance of food. The Last Supper refers to the Eucharist, a topical and carefully chosen subject since the monks ate in the dining hall twice a day. This created a playful contrast between the food actually being served in the refectory and the heavenly food in the shape of consecrated wafers.

Stucwerkplafond Jan Christiaan Hansche

Practical information


Abdij van Park 7
3001 Leuven
View directions

Opening hours

  •   Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 17.00 hrs.


  • Limited access for people with disabilities.

Good to know

  •  Admission: € 12.00 standard rate


Other sites nearby

Het Laatste Avondmaal door Jan Willems
Saint Quentin’s Church is the most beautiful church in Leuven according to the humanist Justus Lipsius. Do pay a visit to admire it and discover The Last Supper
Boodschapkapel in Heverlee
The beautiful Message Chapel in Heverlee will blow your mind with its modernist appeal and colourful stained glass windows.
Sint-Jan-de-Doperkerk in het Groot Begijnhof van Leuven
Recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site, the Church of Saint John the Baptist in Leuven is a must-see for any culture lover.