Saint-Martin/ Sint-Martinus Church

Saint-Martin/Sint-Martinus Church was built by architect Jean Gilson in 1971 to replace a neo-Gothic building that had itself taken the place of an old chapel, the oldest remnants of which dated back to 1112. Saint-Martin/Sint-Martinus Church is a remarkable building on more than one account. First of all, it has an extremely distinctive high trapezoidal façade featuring an enormous ceramic composition by Zygmunt Dobrzycki, which focuses on the main virtue associated with St Martin, namely Charity. The nave, which is accessed through a low, dark area punctuated by 12 raw concrete columns adorned with bas-relief figures, is also trapezoidal to mirror the façade, which the architect intended to act as a kind of impassable wall. A huge non-figurative bas-relief by Frédéric Geilfuss dominates the apse wall, but it is the abstract stained-glass windows designed by Aalst master glassmaker Achiel Meersman and built by his brother Theo that most catch the eye. These complement two older neo-Gothic stained-glass windows by H. Heyden, while the church’s pulpit dates from 1634 and was originally part of Dieleghem Abbey.

Guided tours, Sat. & Sun. at 14:00 (French), 16:00 (Dutch). Advance booking required: email for a tour in French or for a tour in Dutch. Up to 5 people per tour. The tours will focus on the artists and craftspeople who worked on the church, all of whom sought to channel natural light into the building and transform it into a bright, colourful space. The tours will then explore the area around the church, highlighting brilliantly-hued features of everyday heritage that we all too often fail to notice in our busy day-to-day lives.

Exhibition ‘How one church replaces another’, Sat. & Sun., 13:00 to 18:00, featuring previously unseen photographs of the current church’s construction in 1971 and the old church’s demolition in 1974. These photos, taken from various collections and scanned as part of the Erfgoedbank Brussel project, will be published at at the same time.

Demonstrations of the art of stained-glass making, Sat. at 13:00 and 15:00. These demonstrations will help you better appreciate the multicoloured stained-glass windows produced by master glassmakers Achiel and Theo Meersman by giving you an insight into the work done by stained-glass artists and the techniques they use to create their pieces, enabling you to understand the different stages involved in producing a stained-glass window with traditional techniques.

In cooperation with the Municipality of Ganshoren.

Practical information

Sat. & Sun., 13:00 to 18:00

Place Reine Fabiola/Koningin Fabiolaplein, Ganshoren

13 83 87 Nereus