Commissioning churches, chapels, schools and infirmaries and caring for the poor and needy, St Gertrude of Nivelles was mainly known for her hospitality to pilgrims. Though she was also very knowledgeable when it came to the Holy Scripture and she was a mystic who had visions. Her aid was often called in against fever, lunacy, and rat and mice infestations, which inspired her attribute: a staff surrounded by mice.
Gaasbeek Castle lies amidst a vast park of 49 ha that was designed back in the 17th century with lots of grand avenues and smaller walking paths. In the grounds, visitors will find three large ponds as well as a number of buildings with a historic connection to the castle, like the baroque St Gertrude’s chapel which houses an altarpiece by Flemish baroque painter Gerard Seghers, the baroque pavilion with its unique stucco ceiling, the neo-gothic barn, the octagonal pavilion or gunpowder stores, the classicist triumphal arch erected in honour of Napoleon, and the former caretaker’s residence (which now houses Brasserie Graaf van Egmond). In other words, Gaasbeek Castle is the perfect place to get away from all the hustle and bustle!