Virga Jesse Basilica

In 1998, the ancient Our Lady Church (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) of Hasselt was elevated to the status of minor basilica and has since been called the Virga Jesse Basilica.

Eventful history

The current basilica is the third church to be built on the same site. In 1727, the first chapel partially collapsed. The church that was then built afterwards was largely destroyed on 3-4 November 1944 by a flying bomb.  Its reconstruction took 6 years.

Beautiful works of art

  • In the hall hangs a tapestry by Simonne Reynders. There you can discover a number of miracles that have been attributed to Our Lady Virga Jesse.
  • The statue of Our Lady Virga Jesse in the chancel is a very attractive polychromed statue from the 14th century.
  • Other important works of art in the basilica are the Baroque high altar by sculptor Jean Delcour and the mausoleums of Anna Catharina de Lamboy and Barbara de Rivière d’Arschot, abbesses of Herkenrode Abbey. They were taken from Herkenrode Abbey to this church in 1803.  The side altars also come from this abbey.

A tradition has slowly developed where the basilica is adorned with artwork every 7 years.

  • In 1982, expatriate Hasselt citizens donated the window on the left in the transept. The window was created by Hasselt artist André Mathijs.
  • In 1989, the members of the Broederschap van Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Virga Jesse donated the stained-glass window featuring the family tree of Jesse to the right in the transept.
  • In 1996, a modern glass altar was donated to the church.
  • Since 2003, 16 bells have been ringing out across the city with songs that were composed for the Our Lady Virga Jesse.
  • The Our Lady Virga Jesse gift of 2010 consisted of support to the 'social' restaurant Klavertjevier.

Our Lady Virga Jesse Procession

The Our Lady Virga Jesse has a special place in the religious worship of the people of Hasselt. Since 1682, large-scale septennial festivities have been organized. A magnificent procession then passes through the festively decorated streets. Many folklore and artistic events have taken place during this. In 2009, the festivities were included in the Flemish list of immaterial heritage.


During the procession various miracles attributed to the intervention of Our Lady Virga Jesse are depicted in a traditional manner. One such miracle is the miracle of the child of the Morin depicted on the first floor of the ‘t Kermpt house. According to legend, a child fell from the window of this house. The neighbours begged Our Lady Virga Jesse to bring the child back to life, which according to popular legend then happened. In gratitude the Morin gave a robe of silver mail to Virga Jesse as a gift. This is exhibited in the Municipal Museum Het Stadsmus.