In 1738, Maria Elisabeth of Austria, governor of the Austrian Netherlands, authorized the bourgeois of Virton to open a college where classics would be taught until the “rhétorique” (i.e. Belgian last high school grade). The “Collège Saint-Laurent” was built in 1739 opposite the Recollect Convent. As the French Revolution banned religious congregations, the Convent and the school had to close their doors in 1796. In 1841 the City of Virton inaugurated the Gymnasium in the “Faubourg d’Arival”.
By Royal Decree, a Higher Primary School of the Government was founded in 1843. It became a Middle School in June 1850 then a school of higher education until 1986. Both schools, the Middle School and the High School, shared the same building. The “Collège” became an “Athénée royal” by Royal Decree on 26th September 1881. It was officially renamed “Athénée Royal Nestor Outer” in 2000. Today it occupies the whole site.