College of Agromical Sciences, housed in the Old Abbey of Gembloux.
Gembloux (Geminiacus in Latin ; pop. 21,500) was founded in 936 by Saint Guibert, along with a benedictine abbey. The abbey, last rebuilt in the 18th century, is the largest Neoclassical abbey building in the Benelux, and one of the biggest in northern Europe. Suppressed during the French Revolution, the building now houses a renowned College of Agronomical Sciences (established in 1860).
Once part of the powerful duchy of Brabant, Gembloux prospered on the cutlery industry. The town still manufactures high-quality forks, knives and spoons, under such brand name as Eternum, often seen in upmarket restaurants in Belgium and abroad.
Local racing champion Tony Gillet designed the world's fastest car, the Vertigo, which is also assembled in Gembloux.
Although the town itself is not the prettiest in the region, it does have a charming Renaissance townhall (still called the 'Baillif's House', from its former usage), a small cutlery museum, and above all a huge 18th-century abbey (now housing the college of agronomics) secluded in a beguiling park. The adjacent St. Guibert's Church, which has preserved a Romanesque basement from the original abbey. Also note the town's belfry, well hidden in a maze a cobble-stone alleys on a hill right in the centre of town.
As many trains between Namur and Brussels stop in Gembloux, it is convenient enough to spend an hour or two wandering around on a sunny day. If you have a car and are there on a Sunday or public holiday between May and September, don't miss the nearby medieval (and beautifully preserved) Castle of Corroy-le-château, 5 km to the southwest (take the N29 road).
How to get there
Gembloux is 10 min by train from Namur or 25 min from Brussels-Luxembourg station on the Brussels-Luxembourg line.
By car, it is about 10 min from Namur and 30 min from central Brussels on the E411 motorway.
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