These form the largest collection of glasswork in Belgium and bring the St Waltrude Collegiate Church to life with their range of lights and colours. The stained glass of the transept and the upper windows of the choir deserve special attention due to their aesthetics and the history they depict. Generally, they allude to the cycle of the Life of Christ and the Virgin, from the Annunciation to the Assumption, or their main financial backers together with their coat of arms (Maximillian I, who donated the five windows of the chevet in 1510; Mary of Burgundy; Philip the Handsome, etc.).
Almost all the stained glass windows date back to the 16th century and are the work of the Mons-based Eve family, and perhaps also Nicolas Rombauts, a stained glass artist who worked under Charles V.

History and development

At the beginning of the 16th century, the canonesses asked the ruling family to decorate their collegiate church with stained glass windows, a request that was granted. The glasswork began and continued for almost a century. In total, some forty stained glass windows decorated the building. Unfortunately, some disappeared and now only 27 remain. They were positioned based on a very specific hierarchy: the reigning family and the important people in the Empire preside over the choir, while the locally renowned dignitaries appear in the transept and the nave.

Despite undergoing various renovation work, the old stained glass windows nevertheless demonstrate the change from the Gothic to the Renaissance style. A change that was first seen in the decorative elements (significant use of Italian repertoire), and then in the structural elements, with their more traditional architecture.