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Belfry Town Hall of Mechelen

Grote Markt 21, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium

Belfry Town Hall of Mechelen

Visit in August 2022

Photography visit

The Belfry Town Hall of Mechelen was visited to take outdoor photos in August 2022.

Belfry Town Hall of Mechelen

Concise history:

Once grand ambition, now least high Belfry

If the plans of the notables of Mechelen at the beginning of the 14th century had been fully implemented there would have stood today at least a copy of the Belfry of Bruges. In 1311 the rebuilding of the Halle, which had already been erected there in the 13th century, began. The plans were very ambitious and officials had been sent to Bruges to copy the design. Thus the ground plan was created: an irregular quadrangle around the courtyard, 140 meters long, 110 meters wide along the east side and 98 meters along the west side. However, the planned belfry tower was not completed due to lack of funds.

Unfinished belfry just 15 feet high

Seen from the Grand Place, the center part of the City Hall is the Belfry. So the base dates back to the 14th century and it suffered little from the great fire that raged in town in 1342. Then in the 16th century, instead of the originally planned tower, a first-floor walkway and two octagonal turrets were installed. Then, in the 17th century, some Baroque elements were added and the Belfry as we know it today took its current form. The role of Belfry was assigned to St. Rombouts Tower.

The north wing

The north wing of the original Halle was demolished around 1525 to make way for a new palace for the Grand Council of the Netherlands that had been established by Charles the Bold in 1773. Again, the original plan, created by Rombout II Keldermans-a scion of a famous lineage of Malines sculptors, stonecutters and architects-was never completed. First, because after the death of Margaret of Austria, the Burgundian residence was shifted from Malines to Brussels. Then the city faced high rebuilding costs following the explosion of the gunpowder magazine on Sand Gate that destroyed much of the city. The Grand Council went to the Court of Savoy and construction work on the Grand Palace ceased in 1547. From 1551 until the 19th century, the spaces between the columns were leased as dwellings and stores.

City Hall as of June 1914

After remodeling from 1900 to 1911, the city government moved into the north wing of the Halle complex in the summer of 1911, and on June 8, 1914, the building was promoted to City Hall. The other wing will be occupied by the police during the same period until all city departments are housed in the complex. After the last major renovation in 1975 by Jan Faes and Jan Levrier, the present situation arises.

The City Hall and Belfry of grand plans

Apart from the aforementioned milestones, many plans have passed the revue during its existence. These are beautifully described in the 1987 article“The ‘Town Hall’ of Mechelen- Growth, Decay and Restoration” by F. Brenders. It nicely shows that things have not been kind to the people of Mechelen as far as the Halle and the Belfry are concerned. That the Belfry Town Hall of Mechelen was nevertheless included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, despite the fact that it never fulfilled that role, is therefore not so surprising.

Sources:

Origins:

Built:

Building Material:

Style period:

Height:

Accessibility:

1311

1342

sandstone

gothic

15meter

inaccessible

Opening hours City Hall

Monday 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Closed Tuesday
Wednesdays 09:00 – 12:30, 13:30 – 16:30
Thursday 1:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Friday through Sunday closed

Information

City Hall: call:
+32 15 28 00 00
Mail: stadsbestuur@mechelen.be

Accommodation options in Mechelen

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.

Martin's Paterhof

Martin's Patershof

Located right in the historic center of Mechelen, Martin’s Patershof features unique accommodations in a former church. The stylish rooms combine original elements…

Hotel Brewery The Anchor

Hotel Brewery The Anchor

Stay overnight at Belgium’s first brewery hotel. From its unique location in the heart of the Great Beguinage, you can explore the city of Mechelen in all its facets while walking…

B&B The Pious Fox

B&B The Pious Fox

The Pious Fox is a place where you can escape from the world for a while. Surrounded by the Beguinage Church and other historical gems, you quickly imagine yourself in another time….

Food and drink

During our visit to Mechelen, we will visit several locales to have something to eat, drink and most importantly, taste the atmosphere. After all, not only information hunger needs to be satisfied. Do you have an absolute tip where a visit to Mechelen should be culinary or can you tip the ultimate pub? Then send a message to: info@belforten.com.

The White Fox

1. Brasserie De Witten Vos

De Witten Vos is a modern brasserie with a menu for every taste. From Belgian fare like pork cheeks with Golden Carolus beer to an exotic wok and catered seasonal suggestions. We had a delicious lunch there on the terrace at the Grand Place. Highly recommended!

Website Brasserie De Witten Vos

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...