Saint-Martin/Sint-Martinus Church

A. de Ville de Goyet ©

Saint-Martin/Sint-Martinus Church was built by architect Jean Gilson between 1969 and 1971. The building itself and its interior layout reflect the spirit of renewal initiated by the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965) and the way in which faith and the liturgy were viewed at this time. At your approach, the high trapezoidal façade rises vertically like an impassable wall. The façade features an enormous ceramic composition by Zygmunt Dobrzycki, which focuses on Charity, the main virtue associated with the church’s patron saint, St Martin. Spiritual function, reflected to some extent in the shape, here encounters the primacy and duty of charity, behind which stands the house of God. Emphasising and embodying this idea, a huge, very low portico – as if crushed by the weight of the tower – represents the required pathway to enter the house of the Christian people. Visitors then move through the ‘forest of charity’ under the very low narthex featuring 12 ‘raw’ concrete (béton brut) columns carved in bas-relief. Once inside the nave, their attention is drawn to the choir housing the high altar. The shape of the nave mirrors the shadow of the tower. A huge non-figurative bas-relief by Frédéric Geilfuss dominates the apse wall, while a set of stained-glass windows illuminates this attractive space, whose open design encourages interaction between all worshippers. The church thus becomes a meeting place between worshippers and God and Christ, and between worshippers themselves. They gather there to celebrate key events in their lives, to pray and to participate in Holy Communion.

Exhibition retelling the various phases in the construction of Saint-Martin/Sint-Martinus Church; the clients for this project; the development of the architect’s plans; the church’s iconography, as designed by the architect, on the theme of love for one’s neighbour (i.e. charity); and the execution and funding of the work.

Guided tours with an opportunity for prayer/meditation: Sat. & Sun. at 16:00 (in French) and 14:00 (in Dutch). Advance booking required (tel.: 0474 77 17 75 – email:

Practical information

Sat., 14:00 to 18:00 and Sun., 13:00 to 18:00
Place Reine Fabiola/Koningin Fabiolaplein, Ganshoren
13 83 87 Nereus