St Godelina's Abbey: A brand-new leverage point for conferences
How can we give religious heritage a new purpose that does justice to the spirit of place? Bertrand de Feydeau, who redeveloped the College des Bernardins – a former Cistercian college in Paris, dating from 1248 – expressed the challenge as follows: “We must pass on to future generations something that is in harmony with what was built in the past and, at the same time, corresponds to the needs and wishes of those who will use the building in the future.”
According to Kristof Lataire, Religious Heritage expert at Tourism Flanders, St Godelina’s Abbey in Bruges is a good illustration of this approach.
“St Godelina’s Abbey is located between two large conference venues: the Concertgebouw and the Bruges Meeting & Congress Center. It would not be a good idea, therefore, to turn the abbey into yet another meeting and conference location. On the contrary, its added value lies in supporting both venues in the area by creating a leverage point. For example, the abbey has a beautiful garden, where delegates from the Concertgebouw and the BMCC are welcome during break-outs. In this way, the abbey can even offer a solution for capacity issues.