Church of our Lady

Chancel rood screen

Koordoksaal Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk in Aarschot

Jan Van Ophemstraat, Aarschot

An enchanting journey awaits those who enter the Church of Our Lady, where every stone whispers details of a glorious past. The Gothic chancel rood screen is a particularly eye-catching feature depicting many stories in vivid relief images.

Church of our Lady

The Church of Our Lady in Aarschot, an example of late 15th-century Demer gothic style, has distinctive natural stone layers of white limestone and brown ironstone. The church is a symbol of Aarschot’s prosperity when the cloth trade, linen production and viticulture reigned supreme. The church soon developed into a busy pilgrimage site for Mary, the city's patron saint. Under the leadership of Anthony de Croÿ the church was elevated to a collegiate church, served by thirteen canons. This administration continued until 1797, following which the church was closed down under French rule. When it was reopened as a parish church in 1803 the canons never returned. The opulent interior, which includes choir stalls by Jan Borchman, a wrought iron chandelier attributed to Quinten Massijs and a monumental chancel rood screen, is testimony to an artistic and religious symbiosis.

Chancel rood screen

A chancel rood screen consists of a stone wall with a stand which separates the chancel from the nave, shielding the sacred from the public part. A rood screen served several functions, including maintaining the peace during tidal prayers and as a liturgical space for mass readings and sermons. Although most chancel rood screens disappeared during religious wars, the rood screen of Our Lady’s Church was preserved as a rare example of Gothic chancel rood screens in Belgium. It was created by an unknown master in the early 16th century and consists of a white natural stone stand resting on eight columns made of blue bluestone. The stand incorporates a series of twenty one niches with relief sculptures. There are also eight empty niches, probably intended for statues of evangelists and church fathers. It is also richly decorated with foliage and ornamental mouldings. The central representations on the chancel rood screen show the passion and resurrection of Christ. This series of seventeen scenes includes, among others, Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, his crucifixion and his resurrection. The chancel rood screen was not only decorative but also instructive for the illiterate population who could not read the Bible.

Koordoksaal Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk in Aarschot
Koordoksaal Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk in Aarschot

Practical information


Jan Van Ophemstraat
3200 Aarschot
View directions

Opening hours

•    Open Monday to Saturday from 09.00 to 12.00 hrs.
•    Open on Sunday from 09.00 to 10.40 hrs (11.00 hrs Eucharist service).
•    Closed during worship services.


  • Easy access for people with disabilities.

Good to know

  • Admission: free

Other sites nearby

Basiliek van Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Scherpenheuvel
Few places capture the Baroque era more tellingly than the Basilica of Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel.
Hoogaltaar abdijkerk van Averbode
The wooded surroundings of the Merode and Hageland regions will lead you to the abbey church of Averbode in all its architectural splendour.
Abdijkerk van Tongerlo
The mighty Tongerlo Abbey not only dominates the landscape, it is also home to the ultimate replica of Da Vinci's Last Supper.