Nature & parks

Cerckel Park

Cerckel Park encapsulates almost 800 years of history.
In 1228, one of the oldest monasterial communities of Diest, the Order of Friars Minor, settled on the banks of the River Demer.
In 1580, much of Diest was destroyed by the troops of William of Orange, including the Order of Friars Minor. Soldiers robbed the tomb of Anna van Lotharingen (wife of René van Chalon). The city council later reburied her in the church of St Sulpitius.
After 3 years in exile the Friars returned and got started with the reconstruction.
At the end of the 18th century, the monastery was sold publicly by the French, heralding the end for the Order of Friars Minor in Diest. The infirmary and round arch gate are all that remained.
During the 19th century, the beer industry in Diest rapidly expanded. Brewer family Pieck - later Cerckel - bought roughly half of the monasterial domain and transformed it into a beautiful pleasure garden. The vegetable gardens became a pond with a beautiful wrought iron bridge and the former monastery infirmary was converted into a garden pavilion with an orangery as an extension.
When the Cerckel Brewery disappeared, the magnificent city garden also fell into disrepair.
The city of Diest purchased the park in 1990.
Following the renovation of the pond, bridge, cave and round arch gate, the park reopened to the public in April 2011.
The infirmary and orangery will also be returned to their former glory in a later restoration phase.