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Visiting Saint-André church, Liège, Belgium: with origins in the mists of time, still dominating the Downtown skyline

Updated on November 8, 2013
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
Saint-André church, Liège
Saint-André church, Liège | Source
The former Saint-André church
The former Saint-André church | Source
Map location of the Liège area
Map location of the Liège area | Source

From Teutonic Knights to grain

The origins of the Saint-André church, Liège, in Belgium's Walloon region (French: Région wallonne ) are lost in the mists of time. What is known, however, is that a wealthy lady called Beatrix de Vottem gave instructions for her burial. Basically she said, Just make sure it's in Liège. Her burial was duly performed at a building now known as Saint-André church.

For several centuries, the church of Saint-André was a seat of the Teutonic Order. Towards the end of the period of this association, between 1765 and 1772, the present building with its bulbous shaped roof, was erected (1).

Then came the French Revolution (the local euphemism is the Liège Revolution; Liège not being part of France, some appeal to indigeneity is sometimes deemed necessary to explain why invading French troops managed to perform what they regarded as the liberation of the former Principality of Liège from its Prince-Bishops).

And so Mammon took over at Saint-André church. Its religious function ceased, never to recommence, and the domed building became among the most imposing of granaries.

Nowadays, the City of Liège tries to preserve some kind of culturally cerebral association with the building by holding period exhibitions here. (It's one way of doing it, certainly.)

Meanwhile, the looming presence of the domed roof of the former Saint-André church still dominates the Liège City skyline, often forming an backdrop to the famous Perron steps, a much visited local sight.

Saint-André church is situated at place du Marché , 27, Liège.

August 29, 2012


(1) Formerly, the building possessed a spire, which may be recognized from a contemporary artistic rendition of the edifice.

Also worth seeing

In Liège itself, there are various other excellent examples of church architecture; other attractions include: the Perron steps; the former Prince-Bishops' Palace; the Bueren Mountain; the Fragnée Bridge; the Zénobe Gramme Monument; and many others.


How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York (JFK) to Brussels Airport, where car hire is available (distance from Brussels Airport to Liège : 94 kilometres). The Belgian railroad company SNCB maintains a service from Brussels to Liège . Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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