Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the function of a belfry?

A belfry is the pre-eminent symbol of a city’s independence. A belfry performed multiple functions. The most common was as a lookout post for the city, complete with a tower in which the city bells hung. At the same time, it was an archive where municipalities kept their most important documents. The bells at the top of the tower announced public announcements, warned of danger, storms, fires and were rung at celebrations.

What is a cloth hall?

A cloth hall (in Flanders also called lakenhalle), previously also called (ge)wanthuis or (ge)wandhuis and referred to in Latin as Domus Pannorum, is a building that has its origins in the Middle Ages as a trading and stacking place for cloth.

Source: Wikipedia

Why a dragon on the belfry?

Both the Belfry of Ghent and Ypres feature a dragon. The dragons protect the belfries and also symbolize the city’s freedom and power. The dragon of Ghent is mentioned in city accounts as early as the 1377.There are two legends about its origin. There is mention of the dragon of Ypres as early as 1331 when a coppersmith performs repair work.


Is the Belfry of Sluis the only Dutch Belfry?

No, it is, however, the only Dutch Belfry included in the UNESCO World Heritage List of 56 Belfries. The other Dutch belfry is the Wijnhuistoren in Zutphen. There are also some Dutch clock towers that also act as symbols of civic power and freedom. These are: the Town Hall of Veere, the Town Hall of Middelburg, the Town Hall of Bolsward, the Waag in Alkmaar and the hexagonal Hague Tower.


What is the tallest Belfry?

The Belfry of Lille (Lille) is the tallest Belfry at 101 meters.

What is the oldest Belfry?

The oldest Belfry in the world is that of Poitier (1099). The oldest Belfry on the UNESCO World Heritage List is that of Tournai (1192).

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