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Belfry of Diksmuide

Grote Markt 6, 8600 Diksmuide, Belgium

Visit in August 2023

A warm welcome and tour of the belfry

The Belfry of Diksmuide was visited in August 2023. Also read the post about the meeting with City and CPAS archivist Chris Vandewalle.

Belfry of Diksmuide

Belfry of Diksmuide

Concise history:

The New Huus

Diksmuide City Hall has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages. In 1428, the city government had its own building, the “New Huus,” erected on the present site.

City Hall underwent several renovations and expansions over the centuries. Between 1567 and 1570, a new and larger town hall was built to which further improvements and embellishments were made in the following years. A prison wing with a stepped gable was added in 1634 and an extension with a bell gable that served as the city council chamber in 1730.

The construction of the Belfry

Between 1875 and -1880, the old town hall was demolished and replaced by a new, more spacious town hall in neo-Gothic style with the first Belfry of Diksmuide, designed by architect Louis Delacenserie, in the middle of the façade. The prison and its 1730s addition remain intact. The new city hall will be used for city council, administration and the justice of the peace court.

Hit hard in World War I

During World War I, Diksmuide was hit hard, and the less than fifty-year-old town hall was completely destroyed. As well as the older side wings. This disaster occurred in parts. The town hall was the headquarters of Colonel Jules Jacques de Dixmude of the Belgian army during the Battle of Diksmuide in October and November 1914, making it a target for German shelling. The colonel himself is wounded in a volley in which 20 soldiers lose their lives. When the Germans take the city, the greatest damage has already been done. Finally, shelling in 1916 caused the complete destruction of the entire complex.

Reconstruction with a new design

Plans for a new city hall complex emerged from a collaboration between Jozef de Viérin and Valentin Vaerwyck. The latter drew the new design inspired by Gothic and Renaissance in which the new Belfry will have a different place. In fact, the tower will not return to its previous place in the front facade but will move to the courtyard at the rear of the main building. With this, the designer goes back to the situation of 1730 when there was also a courtyard with a modest turret topped by a statue of Neptune, the god of the sea.

Equivalent to the tower of St. Nicholas Church

Unlike its predecessor, the design of the new Belfry is traditional with a shaft, superstructure and spire. Like the City Hall, it is constructed of yellow coastal brick with drip moldings of natural stone at the transition between floors. The bell tower is wooden and has contained a carillon with 30 bells since 1936. On top of the bell tower a helmeted roof with a pear spire.

Belfry gets a carillon

In 1935, the rebuilt belfry tower houses a light carillon by the Michaux company of Brussels. The 30 bells of the carillon were cast by the bell foundry Marcel Michiels Jr. of Mechelen. On Sunday, Oct. 27, 1935, Jef Denijn played the carillon officially putting it into use.

War damage again

On May 27, 1940, City Hall was heavily bombed by the and considerable material damage and casualties occurred. The bombing begins with a large splinter bomb at 7:30 a.m. followed by a second load of bombs dropped by German stukas. The Belfry Tower is also damaged. Immediately after the war, renovation works are being carried out.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 1986, two stone gargoyles were replaced and the roof was taken care of. After a few more alterations to the superstructure in 1998, the belfry is in fine condition when it is included on a World Heritage List with 25 other Flemish belfries. As a result, from then on the structure enjoyed UNESCO protection as an exceptional cultural site.

The peace poem ‘Diksmuide 1914-1918’

During the major renovation, which began in 2012, a peace poem will be painted on the façade of the belfry. The poem “Diksmuide 1914-1918” is by Flemish poet Hedwig Speliers (Diksmuide, 1935) who recites it herself when it is inaugurated on Nov. 15, 2015.

Sources:

Origin: 1428

Construction tower: 1875

Building material: yellow coastal brick

Architects: Louis Delascenserie (1875), Valentin Vaerwyck & Josef Vierin (1923).

Style period: renaissance

Height: 28 meters

Accessible: not accessible

Print The first Belfry of Diksmuide
Print The first Belfry of Diksmuide
Grote Markt Diksmuide after World War 1.

Belfort opening hours

The belfry is not open to the public

Information

Tourism Diksmuide: Call: +32 51 79 30 50 Mail: toerisme@diksmuide.be

Carillon Concerts

Every Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. and in July and August every Thursday evening at 7 p.m.

Accommodation options in Diksmuide

Part of our pre-fun consists of booking accommodation. For us, combining a visit to a belfry with an overnight stay near it completes the experience and gives us more time to gather information.

Hotel Restaurant De Vrede

Hotel Restaurant De Vrede

Hotel Restaurant De Vrede is located in the heart of Diksmuide on the beautiful market square, where one can enjoy the beautiful view of the church all day and the recently renovated town hall across the street….
B&B 't Withuis

B&B 't Withuis

B&B ‘t Withuis is located in the center of Diksmuide where once the 1st World War razed all the buildings to the ground. It is the ideal base for exploring the Westhoek, but….
Belfry of Lo

Hotel Restaurant Town Hall

Sleeping in a belfry, how fun is that. In Lo, you can experience this at Hotel Restaurant Stadhuis. Among other things, the restaurant offers a culinary experience to suit everyone’s wallet.

Food and drink

During our visit to Diksmuide, we visited only one local to have a drink and take in the atmosphere. Do you have another absolute tip where a visit to Diksmuide should be culinary or can you tip the ultimate pub? Then send a message to: info@belforten.com.

Restaurant The Peace

1. Restaurant The Peace

Where is Bert when you need him? He is not with us this trip, so in terms of hospitality, it is improvising. Given the ambitions for the weekend, we also allow ourselves little time. A quick stop at Hotel Restaurant De Vrede is our entire culinary experience in Diksmuide this time. Nice terrace in the evening sun and, as far as we can tell, a nice menu as well. Maybe next time.

Hotel Restaurant De Vrede

The three most recent posts

On this page we have collected all the relevant information for visiting this belfry. To keep this up to date, we are constantly on our way to one of the 56 belfries on the Unesco World Heritage List. Below are the latest additions.

Visit Belfry of Dendermonde 2023

Visit Belfry of Dendermonde 2023 Rein had managed to get in touch with Patrick Segers, the head of the Tourism Department in Dendermonde, and make an appointment to tour the Belfry. Not only was Patrick waiting for us in front of the Belfry and City Hall but he turned...