The basis for this building is a convent of the CisterciŽnsers with name 'Spermalie' (also known as 'Niew Jerusalem').
Originally the abbey was erected in Sint-Pieterskapelle round 1200. Yet since in 1241-1244 the abbey moved to the domain Spermalie in Sijsele . During the religious problems the community searched security in the walls of Bruges in 1578 . It was only round 1600 that the nons found their final shelter when they baught the refugium of the Dunes abbey.
An abbeychurch, a chapter room and a cloisters were built between 1614 and 1642.The constructionmaterials came from the ruineous abbeye in Sijsele.
Thechurch is three-aisled, and ends in a threelateral apse. It is a simple late gothic construction with lancets and overstraining cross-ribvaulting. There are no flying butters or leapingout butters, but very big anchors.
The segmental arched porche with a border in bluestone dates from 1770. It has a cartouch decorated with rocailles and a fronton.
They abbey went down in 1796, after the French Revolution. An institute for education for blind and deaf.