The collegiate church of Saint Gertrude of Nivelles is a “monument” which is out of the ordinary. It is quite rightly considered as “an exceptional heritage site” and on many counts.
In fact it is one of the oldest and one of the largest Romanesque churches in Europe. The church is already very impressive to look at on the outside, above all when standing before its high, wide western façade on five levels. Consecrated in 1046, the church has suffered many mishaps in the course of the centuries, was severely damaged in May 1940 but was restored in a very plain Rhineland-Romanesque style further… to a referendum of the inhabitants!
The interior, composed of two choirs opposite each other, is also spectacular: 100 metres long, 44 metres wide, 20 metres high.
The restoration campaign itself restored a remarkable sobriety: wooden ceilings, exposed stone, modern stained glass windows, decoration limited to a few pieces of antique furniture, in particular two cathedra of truth and the chariot intended to carry the shrine of Saint Gertrude.
Other things that must be seen include the enormous crypt, the archaeological site below ground and the close that was completely restored in the 19th century.