ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting Europe

Visiting the Abbey ruins at Villers-devant-Orval, Belgium: containing the grave of the first Duke of Luxembourg

Updated on December 6, 2012
Flag of Belgium
Flag of Belgium | Source
Orval Abbey, Belgium; tomb of Wenceslas of Bohemia, Duke of Luxembourg
Orval Abbey, Belgium; tomb of Wenceslas of Bohemia, Duke of Luxembourg | Source
Map location of Florenville, Belgian Luxembourg
Map location of Florenville, Belgian Luxembourg | Source

Names, titles and the mists of time

These Abbey ruins at Villers-devant-Orval, Belgium, contain the grave of the first Duke of Luxembourg, Wenceslas (other spellings include Wenceslaus, Wenzel, and Václav)(1). The dates of Wenceslas I were 1337-1383.

"I thought you said 'Belgium', not 'Luxembourg'?"

Well, that's right, yes, Belgium. You see, there is a Belgian province of Luxembourg as well as the independent country, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

"Oh, so Belgian Luxembourg has its own Dukes, too, does it?"

Well, no. At one time, prior to 1839, what are now Belgian Luxembourg and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg were united together. The Dukedom dates from 1355, when Wenceslas's brother-in-law was Holy Roman Emperor and decided to confer on Wenceslas the title of Duke of Luxembourg. But by the 19th century, the title 'Grand Duke of Luxembourg' was synonymous with the King of The Netherlands: the Dutch monarch reigned as King in the Kingdom further north, but as Grand Duke in Luxembourg.

"Wenceslas...doesn't the name sound vaguely familiar?"

Well, in English, the Christmas carol 'Good King Wenceslas' refers to Wenceslas I (c.907-935), Duke of Bohemia, who reigned from 921 until 935 (interestingly, he was designated 'King' posthumously). But the name Wenceslas was also popular among Bohemian princes. In the Middle Ages, the title of Duke of Luxembourg was a times held by the King of Bohemia.

"So, anyway, it's good to see how well preserved is the Medieval grave of the first Duke of Luxembourg!"

Well, sorry to disappoint you, but it's actually a replica.

A few further facts; the Abbey was originally founded in the 11th century, but over the years it passed from one order to another; these orders included Benedictines (French: les Bénédictins ), Cistercians (French: les Cisterciens ) and Trappists (French: les Trappistes ) — the latter orders now being united. The Medieval ruins, with frequent arching, including a well-preserved Gothic cloister arch, are basically in their current state because of the French Revolution, when the Abbey for a period disbanded.

Orval is situated in Florenville, in the Gaume region of the Belgian province of Luxembourg, itself in the Walloon region (French: Région wallonne ).

December 6, 2012

Notes

(1) There are many spellings to the name of this historical personality (incidentally not usual with people and places associated with Luxembourg).

(2) The fact that the Gaume region is administratively within Belgium's Walloon region can be a little confusing, because Walloon also refers to a local language spoken in southern Belgium, alongside French. Whereas the Gaume region lies outside the traditionally Walloon-speaking area, and instead, as well as French, Lorrain is also still to some extent spoken.

Also worth seeing

Physically adjoining the Abbey ruins at Villers-devant-Orval is a 'new', Trappist Abbey, built in the mid-20th century, with a prominent tower and which receives many customers for its prosperous trade in beer and cheese. (For some reason, the Abbey ruins attracted my interest more compellingly than the gastronomic offerings next door.)

Bouillon (distance: 36 kilometres); this town on the Semois is overlooked by the Medieval castle of Crusader Godefroid de Bouillon.

Sedan , France (distance: 36 kilometres) has an historic fortress, now a museum.

...

How to get there: Brussels Airlines flies from New York to Brussels Airport (Brussel Nationaal / Bruxelles-National ), from where car rental is available. 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.

For your visit, these items may be of interest

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)