From 1593 onwards, the monks are rebuilding the destroyed abbey. In 1599, the archdukes Albrecht and Isabella are paying them an official visit to support their efforts. Flanders has suffered a lot of damage due to the many years of civil war that has raged over the country since 1566, many protestant people have left for the new Dutch Republic.
On the occasion of this official visit, the abbey receives two European palm trees. We suspect that some symbolism was linked to the choice of this present: a palm branch is symbol of victory (over Protestantism?) while a palm tree is being mentioned in Psalm 92,13 that says ‘Ut palma florebit’ (The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree), which could refer to the rebuilding of the abbey.
The palms flourished in the abbey and had their own room in the orangery that was a bit higher. When the abbey was abolished in 1795, the palm trees were transferred to the botanical garden in Ghent. The Ename museum has made a small exhibition about the abbey gardens and its palm trees, for which we have made an interactive application showing the abbey gardens in 1665 and 1730.