- Religious heritage
The jacquemart (an animated mechanised figure which strikes the hours on a bell with a hammer) of the Sainte-Gertrude collegiate church in Nivelle is one of 3 in Wallonia. Made of gold plates brass, this representation of a warrior is quite impressive in size: 2 metres high and 350 kg in weight! The locals are so used to the automaton marking the passing of time the city would not be the same without it.
The automaton, given to Nivelles by Charles the Bold in the XVth century, was first placed on the town hall before being transferred to the south tower of the collegiate church in 1617. The locals first named him Jean de Nivelles, a reference to a popular song and expression at the time (Source: Wikipedia). In time, the name would become Djan Djan.
The Sainte-Gertrude collegiate church
The Jewel of Nivelles in Brabant-Wallon province is the Collegiate Church of St Gertrude which was consecrated in 1046 in the presence of Henry lll, the Emperor of the Holy Germanic Empire.
The imposing sanctuary is in Otto-Roman style and stands out because of its unusual layout, having two transepts and two choirs. The central nave is 102 metres long making it one of the longest in the world.
The west end (or "west-bau") consists of an apse, two chapel-galleries and a large high room called the "salle impériale" (Imperial room) and an octagonal belfry flanked by two side towers.
The crypt, the archaeological basement and the cloister can also be visited.
Visitors with specific needs
Please click here to see the list of facilities and activities accessible to visitors with reduced mobility. Wallonia has developed the Access-i program to give travellers a clear understanding of what the infrastructures offer.
Opening times of the collegiate church:
- Week days: 9 am to 5 pm
- Sundays: 2 to 5 pm
Guided tours for individuals:
- Week days: 2 pm
- Sundays and public holidays: 2 to 3.30 pm
Guided tours for groups:
- Every day, booking required
- Visitor guide for groups
- Car parking