Outside the gates of Seraing, which is dominated by the huge industrial plant belonging the Cockerill-Sambre concern, lies a truly splendid building on the right bank of the River Maas: the former Cistercian monastery of Val Saint Lambert. Since it was founded it has been heavily damaged many times: the last time in 2006 when the roof of the abbey castle was destroyed by fire. Nonetheless the group of buildings from different eras has a harmonious and uniform aura. Cistercian monks lived and worked here for almost 800 years, reclaimed the land for agriculture, and taught the rural inhabitants how to grow orchards and raise cattle, as well as caring for their souls. As a consequence of the French Revolution the monastery was closed down in 1796 and its life came to an abrupt end. Only in 1826 did new activities begin to revive life inside the historic walls when the "Val Saint Lambert Glass Manufacturing Company" was set up by a chemist, M. Kemlin and an engineer, M. Lelièvre. More buildings were erected on the site, which even included its own workers´ quarter.
Nowadays visitors to the museum can go on an impressive guided tour which includes a demonstration of glass production at close quarters. A lovingly designed journey back in time entitled "The Journey in the Balloon" presents highly detailed historical scenes from the history of glass manufacturing in Val Saint Lambert. After their time-journey visitors can learn more about the history and techniques of glassmaking from the ca. 250 exquisite glass products and imaginative glass works of art.
Visitors will not only feel warm in their heart when they take a tour of crystal manufacturing. Here they can watch glass-blowers working in the heat, engravers carving intricate patterns with their diamond cutters, and look over the shoulders of polishers putting the finishing touches to the glass objects. And only when they reach the sales room will the full scope of artistic glass making at Val Saint Lambert become clear. It´s commercial success is already evident. The company was first quoted on the stock market in 2005, an exclusive boutique has been opened in Brussels and further boutiques are being planned in Paris, New York and Tokyo. If that´s not success, what is?!