Fancy going to church? What about the church in Ombret? You won’t hear a preacher though, because it’s abandoned.
Ombret is a village belonging to the municipality of Amay, close to Liège. Just like thousands of villages across Belgium, Ombret has a big Gothic church. But Ombret Church is slightly different because it’s been abandoned. This is unusual for Belgium as the state maintains its churches very well. Normally.
The church – officially l’Eglise Notre-Dame d’Amay – was built in 1871 by architect Eugène Halkin. But for some reason that I have been unable to discover, over the years it has been left to go to ruin. In 2013 a violent storm ravaged the building still further.
Discovering Belgium’s roving photographer Herman Vandecauter recently visited the church in Ombret. Here are a few of his photos.
There have been plans to renovate and/or transform the church. In 2005 a developer bought it to build luxury apartments on the site. But nothing came of the plans. Further redevelopment plans were drawn up in 2017, and again in 2020. But as you can see, nothing has happened yet. I suspect one of these days it will either fall down completely, or be bulldozed. Still, it’s always good to dream. Here’s one of the architect’s visions:
To visit l’Eglise Notre-Dame d’Amay yourself, it’s at Rue des Prisonniers Politiques 26, 4540 Amay.
Of course, you probably won’t spend more than an hour there. Here are a few ideas of how to spend the rest of your day in the area.
Ten minutes drive away is Outrelouxhe where I enjoyed this lovely forest walk.
A bit further is the Château of Modave which you can visit and also enjoy a country walk around the area.
Or you can spend some time in nearby Huy.
Striking photos! How bizarre that it was just abandoned like that. Not sure I like the architect’s vision, could do better to keep the romantic atmosphere?
Yes the architect’s proposal is like a school kid’s idea of combining a church with some apartments.
Interesting the state usually keeps them in good repair
Yes they look after their churches here. So you don’t see the posters outside churches that you see in the UK asking for money to repair their roof.
I’d always imagined Belgium was more secular, but obviously not!
Denzil, incredible and atmopsheric photos of this wondrous abandoned church. I imagine walking around there in silent contemplation, absorbing the uniuqe place. The only ruins of churches I’ve wandered around in the UK are the bigger older abbeys and cathedrals – this chuch has a much more special and intimate atmosphere. I can’t see the combination of flats and church working well … let us know what happens to it!
Hi Annika, hope you are doing well. Thanks for your comment. Yes it’s a special place. Interesting also to see how nature invades these places. Particularly the Buddleia!
Denzil, it sounds like some restless spirit roams the ruins, terrifying those who seek to build on the site 🙂
You may be right Rosaliene!
As sad as it is to see the decay in this building, I’m glad it hasn’t been transformed into an ugly structure like the one in the architect’s design.
Yes, pretty unimaginative, to say the least!
Sorry it fell to ruin, but it certainly makes a very picturesque ruin.
Intriguing. I’d guess that the ruins get more visitors, are more photographed and have provoked more interest than the church would have done.
Ha, yes, probably too true!
Thank you for blogging. I always enjoy your blogs – they are extremely informative.
It’s full of atmosphere, I’d definitely like to visit it as it is – it would be a shame for it to be redeveloped when it looks so beautiful intertwined with nature!
Yes, better left as it is, although the more abandoned it gets, the more dangerous it becomes I guess.
Bonjour j habite la commune d amay ,ici toutes les communes ont une église, celle ci qui a été détruite en 40/45 par les allemands. Laissée à l abandons.