As well as displays on the life and works of the famous Flemish poet, the birthplace of Guido Gezelle (1830 - 1899) also hosts temporary exhibitions about literature. The house also has a romantic garden and organic kitchen garden, where visitors can see Jan Fabre's piece 'The Man who gives Fire'. This was originally the country house of a rich merchant, where Gezelle's father worked as a gardener and his family had simple accommodation. The house dates from the 16th century and the surrounding estate initially extended as far as the residential area of Gezellewarande. The house was recently carefully restored and looks once again as it did during Gezelle's youth. The garden is a true oasis of peace.
The Volkskundemuseum is housed in eight 17th century almshouses, with a modern extension. Here you can see a classroom, cobblers, milliners, and cooper's workshops, a tailor's, a pharmacy, a patisserie, an inn, a Flemish living room, a bedroom, and traditional textiles. Each room contains a wealth of antique objects and authentic decors. On the top floor, you an enjoy our lace section. Next to the museum's tavern 'De Zwarte Kat' (The Black Cat), puppets, items of decor, props, posters, programmes and photographs are used to tell the story of the time-honoured Bruges puppet show 'Den Uyl'. With some luck you will meet Aristide, the living black cat and mascot of the museum.
The museum draws archaeology out of its purely scientific context with a mixture of archaeological findings, replicas, and reconstructions, demonstrating that archaeology is really the study of people and their environment through the ages. The museum also covers aspects such as landscapes and environment and how people dealt with them, how they lived, buried their dead, or produced food. Following a planned route, you can wander from prehistory through to the late Middle Ages, while fun tasks give even the youngest of visitors an insight into the archaeological process.
The 115 metres high brick tower of the Church of Our Lady is a perfect illustration of the craftsmanship of Bruges' artisans. The church displays a valuable art collection: Michelangelo's world-famous Madonna and Child, numerous paintings, 13th-century painted sepulchres and the tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold. Due to restauration works, some parts of the church are temporarily closed to the public. Therefore you can benefit from a rate reduction.
Visitors to the museum will discover how the city and her ramparts slowly grew and how important city gates were for the medieval Bruges during wartime. You can imagine yourself as a watchman on the first line of defence and try shooting a crossbow using a modern Wii® applications. City gates were also very important during peacetime, because they were the only entrances to the city. Quality control checks on goods were performed at city gates, and taxes on imports and exports were collected. The beautiful roof terrace offers the visitor a fresh, unique view over the city centre and the suburb of Assebroek.
The belfry tower is over 83 metres tall. Climb the 366 steps to the top and discover on the way a treasury, an impressive clockwork mechanism, and a carillon with 47 bells. Your achievement will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Bruges and the surrounding countryside.
Highlights are the wrought iron gates from 1300, the 'Triumphant Bell' by bell caster Melchior de Haze, the carillon drum dating from 1748, the tower's clockwork mechanism, and the carillon's 47 bells. From the tower room you can see the carillonist's keyboard.
The Brugse Vrije is the former law court of Bruges. It now houses written history of Bruges as the city archives are based there. Take a walk through the old court to the renaissance hall, which was once the alderman's chamber. Here, the highlight is a monumental 16th century wood, marble and alabaster fireplace known as the Emperor Charles V fireplace, designed by Lanceloot Blondeel. A painting by Van Tilborgh shows a session held in the alderman's chamber. Wearing black robes, the members of the alderman's jury, sit ready to have their say. Three defendants stand before them, a justiciary at their side.
Bruges' City Hall (1376) is one of the oldest in the Low Countries. It is from here that the city has been governed for more than 600 years. An absolute masterpiece is the Gothic Hall, with its late 19th-century murals and polychrome vault. The adjoining historic hall calls up the city council's history with a number of authentic documents and works of art. A multimedia exhibition on the ground floor illustrates the evolution of the Burg Square.