The three towers of Sint-Truiden

Sint-Truiden is also called the city of three towers. When we were preparing our visit to the Belfry of Sint-Truiden and also during the visit, we came across this phrase frequently. So curiosity was piqued. As we entered the Grand Place in Sint Truiden, however, we had to look very carefully. Today, the third tower no longer has a spire but a platform that provides a view of the city.

Major disaster in 1975

The picture was considerably altered by a major fire in the abbey tower and seminary boarding house on Dec. 9, 1975. A true devastation in which it was another miracle that there were not many casualties. The abbey church was never rebuilt and the cause of the fire was never identified. As mentioned, the spire of the Abbey Tower has now been replaced by a platform that can be reached by an open staircase. The ascent up the 196 steps is rewarded with breathtaking views.

What did it look like before the fire

To our good fortune, we found the book “The Flemish Cities” containing the above photo. On this, the belfry of Sint-Truiden is still beautifully flanked by the tower of the Abbey Church and the tower of the Church of Our Lady. A beautiful photo taken in 1948 by photographer Cas Oorthuys #1.

Monuments of urban autonomy

The Flemish belfries, by the way, are referred to in the book as “Monuments of Urban Autonomy. A beautiful and very pithy designation. The belfry of Sint-Truiden, along with those of Meenen and Veurne, is listed as the three most important 17th-century belfries with traditional architecture built in the so-called Na-Gothic style.

#1 The Flemish Cities, Publisher Contact, Amsterdam – Antwerp
Eric Cornelissen

Eric Cornelissen

Wanneer het was is niet meer bekend maar tijdens een editie van de Gentse Feesten ontstond de interesse in de geschiedenis en de betekenis van Belforts. Met een vette knipoog naar Reinhold Messner die als eerste de veertien hoogste toppen van de wereld beklom moest iemand maar eens de eerste zijn die alle belforten van de Lage Landen gaat beklimmen! Pas later werd duidelijk dat het er geen 14 maar 56 zijn. Die Messner had het maar makkelijk.