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Belfry of Newport

Market Square 6, 8620 Nieuwpoort, Belgium

Belfry of Newport

Visit in August 2023

Missed opportunity

Unfortunately, in August 2023, it was not possible to enter the tower. Despite several requests in advance, we were unable to make an appointment to visit. Perhaps next time.

Belfry of Newport

Concise history:

Origin and construction of first Grain Hall

The Belfry of Nieuwpoort has its origins in the municipal charter given to the town by Philip of Alsace in 1163. There is mention of a grain hall as early as 1280. The first real mention is from 1292 when income is reported from the grain hall used to build St. Laurentius Church.

The calamity of 1383 and construction of the Belfry

In 1383, Nieuwpoort faced a siege by a coalition of Ghent and Englishmen who captured, plundered and burned the city. The damage was considerable and from 1385 reconstruction began. The grain hall is rebuilt, again on the Grand Place and this time with a belfry.

The ‘Herman tower’ and carillon

The belfry will have a jacquemart or hour knocker with two wooden figures striking a bell each full and half hour. The largest figure is named Herman and the tower is called the Herman Tower. To this, a carillon was added in 1578, which after extensions in 1674 became too large and was therefore moved to the tower of Our Lady’s Church where it still hangs today.

Damage in 1875 and total destruction in 1914

In 1875, restoration of the grain hall and belfry took place but it did not get any more beautiful. There is even talk of mutilations. Things got worse on Oct. 27, 1914, when Belgian engineer troops blew up the tower with dynamite to prevent the advancing Germans from using it. In the war years that follow, the entire city is reduced to rubble.

Reconstruction led by Josef Viérin

From 1921 through 1923, the belfry was reconstructed with the original material. The 1875 “mutilations” will not return, and even embellishments will be made. The belfry will receive a new crowning more in line with the regional church towers. After meticulous reconstruction, the new grain hall is indistinguishable from its predecessor.

Architecture and features

The tower has a height of 35 meters and is built in late Gothic style with materials such as yellow bricks, tiles and slate. The belfry has octagonal corner turrets and a pyramidal spire with a weather vane with the symbols of the city coat of arms: a ship and a lion.

Museum space and UNESCO World Heritage Site

Today, the grain hall serves primarily as a reception and exhibition space, while the belfry has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1999 along with 23 other belfry towers in Flanders. Visitors can visit the grain hall only during exhibitions or events.
The Belfry has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 and is also classified as a protected monument by the Royal Commission on Monuments and Sites of Belgium.

Sources:
  • #1 Website Les Beffrois, Les Perrons & Les Rolands accessed August 3, 2023
  • #2 2003, Along Flemish Belfries and Townhouses, Michiel Heirman, Davidsfonds Publishers, Leuven.
  • #3 Singing Towers,” Andreas Dill & Luc Rombouts, Davidsfonds Leuven, 2017.
  • #4 Website onroerenderfgoed.be, accessed August 3, 2023.
  • #5 Website Wikipedia, accessed August 3, 2023.

Origin: 1280

Completed tower: 1385:

Building material: yellow coastal brick

Architect: Josef Viérin (rebuilt 1923)

Style period: Late Gothic

Height: 35 meters

Accessibility: not

Belfort opening hours

Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays except during Flemish school vacations. From April 1 through Sept. 30, open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each time(last admission at 4 p.m.).

Information

Tourism: Call: +32 58 22 44 44 Mail: onthaal@nieuwpoort.be

Accommodation options in Nieuwpoort

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 Montana

Hotel Montana

Housed in a cottage-style villa typical of this stretch of the Belgian coast. The hotel is quietly located in a residential area, close to the wide beach and the sea, cozy restaurants…
B&B Blue House

B&B Blue House

The B&B Blue House is located in the center of Nieuwpoort and within walking distance of the North Sea. The B&B is located in the 100-year-old mansion the “Blue House,” which is classified as a protected monument….
B&B Jeanne

B&B Jeanne

This cozy B&B in a brick building is an 8-minute walk from a streetcar stop, 4 km from the nearest North Sea beach, and 6 km from the NAVIGO-National Fisheries Museum….

Food and drink

During our visit to Newport, we visited several classrooms to have something to eat, drink and, above all, taste the atmosphere. After all, not only information hunger needs to be satisfied. Do you have another absolute tip where a visit to the Westhoek should be culinary or can you tip the ultimate pub? Then send a message to: info@belforten.com.

Breakfast à la Montana

1. Breakfast à la Montana

Our penchant for authentic places to stay with a good chance of a lively evening brought us this time to Hotel Montana in De Panne. A cozy family hotel within walking distance of the beach where we feasted on the “tastiest mussels ever” in restaurant La Furnoise with a long afterglow in Bar Oasis. Pictured is breakfast on La Montana’s terrace.

Website Hotel La Montana

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...