The Saint Donatus Church is build on a hill called La Knippchen. This hill was already used by the Gallo-Roman population of Orolaunum as an impregnable place at the time of the Great Migration during 269-270 AC. During you’re stay at out 4* hotel in Arlon, the Saint Donatus Church is a must see.
On the location where you find the Saint Donatus Church today, during the 11th century you could find the first castle of the county from Arlon. In 1558 this castle and the city walls were destroyed by the troops of the Duke from Guise. When the Capuchin Fathers settled in 1621 in Arlon, they build a monastery on the ruins of the castle. In 1682 a bastion was built in ‘ Vauban’ style. This transformed the monastery in a city. The old monastery of the Capuchins was abandoned in 1796 and destroyed during the French Revolution. Only the Saint Donatus Church survived. In 1851 the Church got restored under the government of Louis XIV. During the 20th century the church was redeveloped during the construction of the Belvedere tower.
The road that leads to the Saint Donatus Church is a stone crossroad out of 1846 and got classified as important heritage of Wallonia. From the church tower you can see three countries that are connected to each other with their borders, Belgium, Luxemburg and France. The tower is 35 meters high and is open to the public since may 2017. Visitors need to climb 134 steps to reach the open air gallery and pass on their way the clock tower. The Belvedere tower was constructed between 1905 and 1907 to replace the original bell tower from the Capuchins. Nowadays it is a true tourist emblem of the city.
The carillon sounds every day the tune of Zu Arel op der Knippchen, this is a traditional anthem of the Land of Arlon and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the unofficial hymn of the Belgian province of Luxembourg.
After visiting the Belvedere tower of the Saint Donatus Church and enjoying the view, you can have a nice refreshing drink at out hotel restaurant in Arlon.