History of the Berchmanianum

The Berchmanianum has a rich history since it was built in 1929 as a study house for the Jesuit monastic order. Since 2018, it has been in use as the Academy building and houses the Executive Board, among others. The Berchmanianum is considered a national monument.

Standbeeld van Jan Berchmans, de patroonheilige naar wie het Berchmanianum is vernoemd.

On the edge of the campus at Houtlaan 4 stands the monumental Berchmanianum. The building was designed for the Jesuits by architects Jos Cuypers and Pierre Cuypers junior. It takes its name from the patron saint of studying youth Jan Berchmans (1599, Diest, Belgium).

During World War II, the Berchmanianum fell into the hands of the SS for the Lebensborn project, which aimed to conceive an Aryan population. Due to a disagreement between the SS and the Nazi government in the Netherlands, no children ended up being born in the monastery. After the liberation of Nijmegen, the monastery was returned to the Jesuits in 1944.

Gedeelte van de tuin van Klooster Berchmanianum, 1935

From monastery to Academy building

In 1967, the Berchmanianum became a care and nursing home for brothers and fathers. Radboud University bought the monastery in 2013 after which it retained this function for three more years. Fifty-two fathers and friars were the last residents. They moved to a new nursing home on Heijendaalseweg in the Brakkenstein district in 2016. After a two-year renovation, the Berchmanianum opened in 2018 as Radboud University's new Academy building.

The new design preserves the old character. With the addition of the monastery and its grounds, the university campus grew by 7.5 hectares. The monastery provides workplaces for 300 employees. The monastery's small rooms have merged into spacious and bright office spaces. Open as office gardens and sometimes enclosed workspaces with glass facades let light through give a sense of space. The building's entrance has moved from Houtlaan to the campus side, facing the Erasmus building. Its religious roots are still clearly recognisable in the building. For instance, the long corridors, vaulted ceilings and tiled floors breathe the monastic past. Also, the copper spire still proudly reaches for the sky and elements of the old monastery garden have been preserved.

Kapel Berchmanianum

The chapel

The 'big chapel' of Monastery Berchmanianum is located on the first floor and occupies a central place in the building. The stained-glass windows were made by the well-known Atelier F. Nicolas & Sons of Roermond. Other pieces on display include sculptures from Utrecht-based Atelier Brom and Belgian sculptor C. Van de Capelle.

InWork Berchmanianum

See also