Building portfolio Facility Services

Bonnefantenstraat 2

The Sisters of the Holy Sepulchre, known as ‘les dames des bons enfants’, commissioned the construction of the Bonnefanten convent in 1627. Following a number of fires, the convent and church were rebuilt starting in 1686. In 1798, during the French period, the sisters were forced to leave the convent. Since then, the convent has served various purposes, including as a storage depot, a military barracks, a meeting centre for the Catholic Military Association and the Royal Brass Band, a ‘poor folks storehouse’ and, finally, the Bonnefanten Museum. After the museum moved to the Helmstraat in 1987, UM purchased the building complex to house the university library. As the university expanded, however, the space was quickly found to be too small.  In 2004, the university library moved to the Grote Looierstraat and the convent became the Student Services Centre. The point of departure for the renovation design was to preserve the recognisability of the spatial structure of this former convent, including its courtyard and adjacent chapel. In September 2013, 181 additional Learning Spaces were installed in the building on levels 1 and 2. By removing the stands from the former Visitors’ Centre, a lounge area and meeting place for students with seating for roughly 60 was also created on the ground floor. This area is well-suited for taking breaks and catching up with friends over a cup of coffee or bite to eat from Coffeelovers.

Bonnefantenstraat 2 EN