The Abbey of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is located in Tegelen, an old village between Roermond and Venlo, in Dutch Limburg.
At the beginning of 1884, a wind of godlessness blew over Belgium. An anti-religious policy made religious orders fear severe measures from the rulers. Persecution threatened to severely affect priests and religious. At that time, a priest from the Flemish village of Wareghem, near Kortrijk, Mr. de Coninck, offered the abbot of Westmalle the sum of 15,000 Florins so that he could build a monastery abroad and thus put a part of his property in safety.
Dom Benoît Wuyts, then Abbot of Westmalle, saw in this generous gesture a providential indication which provided him with a refuge in case of misfortune and he accepted the offer eagerly. Dom Benoît and Mr. de Coninck immediately entered into talks for the purchase of a farm located near Venlo, in Dutch Limburg, in Tegelen, an old village between Roermond and Venlo. The property seemed quite suitable for the establishment of a Trappe: there was true solitude surrounded by woods and heather. A few steps from the German border, it included 23 hectares of rather neglected land, on which were built the farm, house and outbuildings. The first discussions took place with the owner in March and during April the business was concluded.
The first religious arrived at the beginning of June 1884. Initially, the situation of the religious was not ideal: they slept in an attic were sometimes awakened by the rain during the night. Some generous souls came to their aid by sending them cattle, charcoal and food. Soon they thought of building. The existing buildings were remodeled and extended. In 1887 the provisional chapel was completed. Over the years, postulants presented themselves regularly and the community eventually numbered more than 60 monks around 1909.
During the 1914-1918 war, Tegelen Abbey served as a refuge for many monks from the Achel and Westmalle abbeys.
Severely damaged during the Second World War, the monastery was rebuilt after the liberation. The decrease in the workforce led to a merger with the Lilbosch monastery in Echt, and the two communities are now one.
As the convent was founded by monks from Westmalle, it is not surprising that a brewery could be established there. The production of beer was indeed already well established within the abbey of Westmalle.
It was therefore in the spring of 1891 that the construction of a brewery was started within the convent. This was completed the same year in autumn and the monks could then brew low fermentation beer, called Lager. This beer titrated 4% alc. flight.
This beer was bottled in 30 centiliter stirrup top bottles. These bottles bore a label with the name of the beer. The raw materials were bought outside the abbey.
The beer was intended primarily for the personal consumption of the monks but enough beer was produced for the guests of the monastery as well.
Each monk was entitled to 2 cans of the aforementioned beer daily during dinner. By the end of the 1930s, annual production was around 250 hectoliters. Beer was also sold outside, especially in the Venlo region. It was delivered to homes by tricycle.
In 1947, the brewery was stopped because the raw materials became very difficult to obtain. The abbey then turned toward the production of cider.
The brewery building still exists today.