The Ruusbroec Institute is an interdisciplinary research centre for the academic study of the history of spirituality in the Low Countries. Drawing mainly on textual sources, we employ research perspectives pertaining to the disciplines of philology, history and religious studies. We focus on the history of spirituality of the premodern era, while also studying the cross-temporal transmission and reception of religious texts as well as the continuation of religious ideas and practices into (post)modern times. In the course of its 90-year old history, the Institute has built up a special expertise in the edition and study of mystical texts, and in the historical study of devotional book culture. Since 1927 the Institute has published the international peer-reviewed journal Ons Geestelijk Erf - Journal for the History of Spirituality in the Low Countries.
The Institute has a bountiful library that hosts an unequalled collection of secondary sources on the history of Christian mysticism and devotion, as well as a unique collection of primary sources that testify to the religious culture of the Low Countries, such as prayer books and devotional prints. The Ruusbroec Library is a member of the Flemish Heritage Library and participates in programmes that make heritage available to the wider public through digitization and exhibitions.
The academic staff of the institute are active in education and teach courses in the Departments of History and of Literature at the University of Antwerp. Yearly, we organize academic conferences, lectures and workshops, often in cooperation with other academic institutions. We are active in the service to a wider public by giving lectures at various cultural organizations and by providing our expertise.
The Institute was established in 1925 as an independent Jesuit foundation to preserve, research and further develop the material and immaterial heritage testifying to the religious culture of the Low Countries. In 1973 it was incorporated in UFSIA (Universitaire Faculteiten Sint-Ignatius Antwerpen) and was subsequently integrated into the University of Antwerp in 2003.
The Ruusbroec Institute welcomes visiting scholars for short-term or long-term research stays.
Veerle Fraeters, Director of the Ruusbroec Institute