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Belfry of Herentals

Grote Markt 50, 2200 Herentals, Belgium

Visit in December 2021

After almost two years, we are back on the road! We still have some start-up problems but the visit to Lier and Herentals was used to give the new cameras a good try.

Photos from the visit on Dec. 3 and 4, 2021. Click on the photo for a larger view.

Belfry of Herentals

Concise history:

Construction Cloth Hall

In 1209, Herentals acquired a municipal charter by Henry 1 of Brabant, nicknamed the Martial (1165-1235). Around 1400, a cloth hall arose in the Great Market of Herentals on the foundations of the earlier one from the 13th century. It was known in subsequent years as gulden huys, meethuys and loterhuys. The hall was also used by the city magistrate and from 1430 was also known as stadhuys. The Belfry of Herentals was funded primarily by clothmakers and wool weavers and therefore has a long history as a cloth hall where trade was plentiful.

Rebuilding and construction of belfry

A major fire in 1512 completely destroyed the building. In 1534, reconstruction began under two master builders from the city itself Peter Moens and Merten Casus. Under their leadership, not only is a new city hall built with Ledish sandstone but also a belfry with lines of natural stone and Oevel brick. After its opening, it housed the city seals and gave the Belfry its first bell.

Major events and renovations

In 1590, the tower was first referred to as Belfry. The first major restoration began in 1880. Architect Pieter Josef Taeymans is taking charge of this one. In the process, he set up an exhibition space in the attic for the plaster library of sculptor Charles Auguste Fraikin. Windows were installed in the roof for illumination. These were replaced by large skylights designed by his son Jules Taeymans. During a restoration in the late 1990s, the removed under the direction of architectural studio E. van Loven. Two more renovations will follow in 2010 and 2012 where the roof will be taken care of.

Carillon

A carillon has hung in the Belfry since the mid-16th century. The Belfry consists of the bell house, an open lantern tower and a floor below it the octagonal stone structure housing the carillon bells.

The present carillon was inaugurated in 1965, and the fifty bells together weigh nearly four tons. The hour clock “Maria” was cast by Medardus Waghevens in 1533 and it still hangs in the Belfry. The carillon may be called historic because in addition to this hour bell, two bells by Antoon Regnauld from 1649 and four bells by Andreas Lodewijk Jan van Aerschodt from 1843 are also part of it. Petit and Fritsen of Asten supplemented the number to the present forty-nine in 1961.

Current function

Since 1998, it has been officially called Cloth Hall. The Belfry is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Cloth Hall has a socio-cultural function and regularly hosts exhibitions and concerts.

 

Sources: Erfgoed in Vlaanderen, Wikipedia, Herentals.be, Vlaamse Beiaard Vereniging and Les Beffrois, Les Perrons & Les Rolands
Origins: 13th century
Built: 1534
Building Material: Ledic sandstone
Style period: gothic
Height: 35 meters
Accessibility: not for public viewing

 

Opening hours Culture and Tourism Department

  • Closed on Mondays.
  • Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Also open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in July and August.

Information

Call: tel. +32 14 21 90 88
Mail: toerisme@herentals.be

Accommodation options in Herentals

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

Hotel The Salmon

Hotel de Zalm

De Zalm is a historic hotel, café and restaurant in the heart of Herentals, right across from the Cloth Hall on the Grote Markt. Its history dates back to 1515…

Hotel Karmel

Hotel Karmel

Hotel Karmel is a former Carmelite convent converted into a 4-star hotel with 27 hotel rooms in a unique atmosphere. Includes pool, sauna…

Hotel De Swaen

Hotel De Swaen

For many years, Hotel De Swaen has been a household name in the Antwerp Kempen region. A visit to the hotel, combined with a day trip, guarantees a carefree getaway….

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...