Villa Volta’s story begins in mid-18th century Netherlands, and is a slight extension on the myth of ‘De Bokkenrijders’. The story goes like this:
Around this time a wave of terror and destruction swept across the Brambantse Kempen and The Limburg Flatlands. The perpetrators of theses crimes where a band of thieves known as De Bokkenrijders (The Goatriders) who according to a middle ages myth, made a pact with the devil to sweep through the night sky riding on goats, setting fires, breaking into homes and spreading misery and anger in their path. The leader of this gang of brigands was Hugo van den Loonsche Duinen, a cruel, merciless and greedy man.
|Hugo van der Loonsche-Duinen|
One day De bokkenrijders where passing through Belgium looking for homes to pillage when they came across The Abbey of Postel. Although every candle in the abbey was at its brightest, there were no signs of life coming out of the chapel, so De bokkenrijders decided to gut the abbey of all its treasures. Halfway through the pillaging Hugo felt a slim hand on his shoulder, he turned and saw a beautiful young woman surrounded by a brilliant light. She spoke: ‘You, Hugo van den Loonsche Duinen, you desecrate this house, so repent, don’t call the lords fury upon yourself’. Her words didn’t impress the men, who left with all their stolen treasures in tow as she disappeared into nothingness.
However, when Hugo arrived at his home, the Villa Volta, the Lady of the Abbey was there, on the roof, her arms swaying in the wind. Again she spoke, her words echoing in Hugo’s mind: ‘Nowhere in your own home, nor anywhere in this world will you find peace and rest, now that you have violated the house of god… only when a noble human with the clear consience of a newborn child enters your home will you find peace, in your home and in your heart’.
Over 250 years later the curse still hasn’t been broken, and it seems Hugos house will be blighted for all eternity…
The mainshow is Hugo van den Loonsche Duinens lining room, where his curse manifests itself. Its walls hold Hugo’s various (probably stolen) possessions, including a goat’s-head trophy, a suit of armour, a cupboard full of kitchenware and several pieces of art. The room also has 3 windows and a patio door, which light up with ‘lightning’ near the end
of the show, a fireplace with a mirror above and several animatronic sculpted candle holders on the wall. The walls are coated in a peach victorian style wallpaper. The ceiling is white with crenellation moldings and several lights with sculpted shades which brighten and darken (for effect) during the show. The swing isn’t as richly decorated as the rest of the room, with only 3 stand-up lamps and a wooden fence in the centre, the benches are wooden and adorned in the centre with a small metal plaque depicting a goat’s face and, on the swing supports, 2 mirrors which lean to show the level ‘zero point’. The floor under the swing is black-and-white tiled in the centre, and parquet on the sides. There are 2 oblongs the same pattern as the rest of the floor in the centre but made of a material similar to two-way mirrors, which allow light to show through. The show lasts approximately 3 minutes.
This year driving aimlessly trough the Belgian landscape when I saw the sign “Postel”. And this shows how many time my daughter wanted to go to villa Volta because immediately the sentence “de abdij van Postel, wisten wij”, a sentence in the story of Hugo of the Loonsche Duinen came into mind.
So I couldn’t resist to go to Postel Abbey. It is still an abby with Norbertijnen monks living there. Postel Abbey is a Premonstratensian abbey in the Belgian municipality of Mol in the province of Antwerp.
This is the church of the Postel Abby Hugo robbed so long ago:
|Postel Abby Church|
The beer of the Abby is famous, but not brewed there anymore. The tourist industry around it is immense. The herb garden is quite impressive and still maintained by the monks themselves.
Strange how the mind works… From Villa Volta to an Belgian Abby… Just because my daughter loved the madhouse.