St Michael College, Brussels

St Michael's College (French: Collège Saint-Michel) is a Roman Catholic secondary school located in Etterbeek (Brussels).[1] The school was built in 1905 by the Society of Jesus in order to replace the previous school that had become too small. It is situated next to the Jesuit administered Saint John Berchmans Church.

The next door church with the college in the background


The current St Michael's College is chronologically the third college to be built:

The first collegeEdit

The Jesuits have been in Brussels since 1586. By the request of Albert VII, Archduke of Austria (1559-1621) and Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633) the Jesuits agreed to open a college. Inaugurated on July 14, 1604, the college is composed of a large rectangle formed by the Rue de la Paille (Straw Road), the Rue de Ruysbroeck (Ruysbroeck Road) and the Rue d'Or (Golden Road). The Jesuits were ejected from the school in 1773 and it was demolished in 1891.

The second collegeEdit

In 1814, the Jesuits returned to Belgium and opened the French-speaking St Michael's College 19 years later in the Chapel Church area of the city. In 1905, the expanding population forced the Jesuits to not only expand the college but to also look for a location for a new college. In 1905, the college on Ursuline Street (Dutch: Ursulinenstraat) was renamed as St John Berchmans College and the new college in the Etterbeek part of the city became St Michael's College.[2]

The third collegeEdit

In 1905, building on the new St Michael's college was complete and work on the nearby church started. It was built in the same neo-traditional architectural style as the rest of the school buildings. The college welcomed 400 students, of which 100 were boarders, on October 3rd of that same year.[3] On 20 July 1908, the foundation stone of the church was laid by the Papal nuncio to Belgium, Msg. Giovanni Tacci Porcelli. The architect was Joseph Prémont who was inspired by the Rhenan Romanesque tradition of the Middle Ages. It was consecrated on 9 July 1912 by the Bishop of Galle, Joseph van Reeth SJ.

Starting in the late 1930s, a shift in language was made which would result in St John Berchmans College speaking Dutch and English and the French-speaking section of the college being transferred to St Michael's College. The two separate colleges still exist today, each teaching in their respective language.[4]


The "cour d'Honneur" of the college

Notable studentsEdit

Notable former students the old St Michael's College:

  • Ferdinand Perier (1875-1968), former professor at the college, Archbishop of Calcutta (1924-1960)
  • Hubert Pierlot (1883-1963), Prime Minister of Belgium (1939-1945)

Notable former students of the new St Michael's College:


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The word college (collège) in French designates a high level school.
  2. ^ Info from St Michel College retrieved 20 February 2014
  3. ^ "Collège Saint-Michel – Inventaire du patrimoine architectural".
  4. ^ retrieved 20 February 2014

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 50°50′04″N 4°24′31″E / 50.83437°N 4.40858°E / 50.83437; 4.40858