Central Bruges is the most well-preserved medieval city in Europe. Much of its architecture is
intact, and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. This page displays 62 images
detailing some of the notable buildings and houses of Bruges. Another 62 images of medieval
and post-Renaissance architecture are displayed on the Canals and Street Scenes page.

The Bruges display images have been created directly from the images that are available for purchase
(with a few exceptions), so the title bar text is smaller than title bars which are normally seen on this website.

Click an image to open a larger version.
Use your back button to return to this page.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Bruges Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 6 Galleries in the Photoshelter Bruges Collection (Direct Links):

Bruges: Burg Square
Market Square and Bell Tower
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw and Gruuthuse
Canal Scenes and Street Scenes
Bruges: Houses and Buildings
Statues and Sculptures


Almshouse de Vos Noordstraat 2750
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Godshuis (Almshouse) de Vos (1713) is one of the 46 Almshouses in Bruges which were built
by the Guilds or by wealthy families to provide homes for poor people, who would in return pray
for them every day. Almshouse de Vos is composed of a chapel and four houses (originally six)
surrounding a traditional garden. It is a superb example of Flemish medieval-style architecture.


Baroque and Medieval Houses Genthof 2162
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Genthof just beyond Jan van Eyckplein in central Bruges. The house on the left with the stepped gable was built in 1715, and Houten Huis (15th c.) next door is one of the two houses in Bruges with an intact original medieval wooden facade.


Baroque House Stoofstraat 2807
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This ornate Baroque house stands in the square at the end of Stoofstraat at Walplein. Stoofstraat (Stove Street) is one of the narrowest of the streets in Bruges. In one section you can touch both sides (see the Canals and Street Scenes page).


Brouwerij De Halve Maan Henri Maes 2794

On the Walplein (originally Waals Plein, Walloon Square, the medieval square where French-speaking Belgians (Walloons) and French traders met), a brewery has existed since 1564. In 1856, Henri Maes rebuilt Die Maene into a modern brewery.


Brouwerij De Halve Maan Walplein 2798
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The Half Moon sculpture in the Brewery courtyard.

Bouwerij de Halve Maan is not only a functioning brewery, making excellent (strong) beer, it is also a Brewery Museum.


Beer Barrels De Halve Maan Walplein 2800
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Beer Barrels in the Browerij de Halve Maan courtyard.
De Halve Maan (Half Moon) is the only family-run brewery
which is still actively operating in the city center of Bruges.


Kathe Wohlfahrt Walplein 2788
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Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store on the Walplein.

Traditional German Music Boxes and Christmas ornaments.


Medieval Houses Goezeputstraat 2004
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Traditional houses on Goezeputstraat (c. 1500) with medieval straight gables and plain facades. The stepped gables which are commonly seen in the architecture of  Bruges arrived from Northern Europe in the late 1500s.


Reylof de Blieck Almshouse 2003
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Godshuis Reylof de Blieck, founded in 1456 as a widow’s house and modified in 1631 by the addition of a house for the poor. On either side are 17th century houses with stepped gables, typical of the architectural style of Bruges.


Bruges Houses Vlamingdam 2316
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16th century diephuizen (deep houses) on Vlamingdam.


Stepped Gables Noordzandstraat 1987
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17th century stepped gables on Noordzandstraat.


Stepped Gables Noordzandstraat 1984
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Stepped gables were originally introduced to allow easier
access to the ridge on the steeply pitched roofs. The steps
are often capped with slate or other stone as these are.


De Witte Poorte Jan van Eyckplein 2160
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De Witte Poort (The White Port) on Jan van Eyckplein.
Originally built in the late 13th century, with major restoration
in the 19th century, De Witte Poorte is now a restaurant.


Stepped Gable Noordzandstraat 1988
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Detail of the 17th century stepped gable and facade of Noordzandstraat 71.


Stepped Gable Den Grooten Anckere 1979
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Stepped gable of Den Grooten Anckere (1656), topped by a stone bear gargoyle which is holding ”the Great Anchor”. The Baroque facade is pierced by circular and teardrop-shaped windows with diamond-cut traditional crown glass.


Stepped Gable Den Grooten Anckere 1981
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The diamond-cut glass is typical of higher-quality medieval and later-period blown-glass windows. Glassblowers would spin a bowl, then cut diamonds from the thin outer sections. The inner “bullseyes” were assembled into lesser windows.


Bruges Shops Noordzandstraat 1976
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19th and 17th century shops on Noordzandstraat.


Bruges Snackshop Noordzandstraat 1993
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A snackshop with stepped gables on Noordzandstraat.


Craft House Potterierei 60 Bruges 2323
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Craft House at Potterierei 60. Note the early plate glass
(possibly cylinder-blown sheet) in the ground floor windows.


Canal Houses Sint-Annarei 2147
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17th c. stepped gable canal houses on Sint-Annarei.
A more frontal angle from across the canal is below.


Canal Houses Sint-Annarei 2152
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17th century canal houses on Sint-Annarei, shot from across the canal on Verversdijk.
Many more images of canal houses are displayed on the Canals and Street Scenes page.

Following are images of some of the medieval buildings in Bruges.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Bruges Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 6 Galleries in the Photoshelter Bruges Collection (Direct Links):

Bruges: Burg Square
Market Square and Bell Tower
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw and Gruuthuse
Canal Scenes and Street Scenes
Bruges: Houses and Buildings
Statues and Sculptures


Canal Houses on Groenerei and Belfort 2361
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Peeking over the canal houses on the Groenerei (Green Canal) is the medieval Belfort (Bell Tower).


Landhuis van het Brugse Vrije Steenhouwersdijk 2897
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The canal side of the former Landhuis van het Brugse Vrije
(Country House of the Liberty of Bruges, or Mansion of Bruges).
The original structure was built in the late 14th c. The turreted side
in the image above was configured in 1528-32 and rebuilt in 1728.

Brugse Vrije was the feudal castellany (county) surrounding Bruges,
originally administered by the Count of Flanders. The political situation
changed many times over the centuries, and Brugse Vrije later operated
under its own viscount, then became one of the Four Members of Flanders
until in 1795, French rule put an end to the feudal organization of Flanders.


Medieval Towers Stadhuis Belfort Groenerei 2363
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Medieval Towers of Central Bruges.

Left: Landhuis van het Brugse Vrije (Mansion of the Liberty of Bruges);
Left and Center: Gothic Towers of the Stadhuis (Town Hall, 1376);
Far right: the medieval Belfort (Bell Tower or Belfry, 1240).


Bruges Medieval Skyline 1196
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Medieval Towers of Town Hall and Burg Square.


Bruges Medieval Skyline 1919
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Rooftops of Bruges and Medieval Towers of Burg Square.


Bruges Dawn Skyline 2262
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Medieval skyline at first light: the Stadhuis (Town Hall) and Burg Square Towers.


Malvenda Perez House Rozenhoedkaai 2673
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The 15th c. Malvenda Perez house (detail further below),
Wollestraat hotels and the Belfort line the left side of the
Rozenhoedkaai (Rose Hat Quay) on the Dijver Canal.


Duc de Bourgogne and Huidevettershuis 2684
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On the opposite side of the Rozenhoedkaai are the medieval towers of the Stadhuis (Town Hall) and Burg Square, the hotel Duc de Bourgogne (center) and the Huidenvettershuis (right).


Huidevettershuis Tanner’s Guild 2671
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The Guild House of the Tanners (Huidevettershuis) at the
Rozenhoedkaai (Rose Hat Quay) was built in 1450 and
was restored in the 17th century. It is now a restaurant.

The Guild House stands on the semi-enclosed Tanner’s Square (the Huidenvettersplein), which from 1302 was used exclusively as the meeting place for the Tanners. In those early days the Tanner’s Guild was so powerful, they had the square enclosed by gates at both ends, but by the 15th c. the civil authorities had the gates removed to reduce the power of the Guild. Due to the bad smell, the Tanner’s operations were eventually moved out of the square, which was then used as a small fish market, selling the cheaper fish as an adjunct to the larger Vismarkt on the nearby Groenerei canal.


Huidevettershuis Tanner’s Guild 2887
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Huidevettershuis Detail 2885
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Huidenvettershuis gable window and lunette (detail right).

Detail of the Huidenvettershuis from Tanner’s Square. The lunettes over the windows show scenes of Tanners working the hides. The upper story lunette (detail at left and below) and the relief over the doorway show apprentices at work.

Detail of the relief over the doorway is further below.


Huidevettershuis Lunette Detail 2885c
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Apprentices scraping the Hides (detail of the lunette over the gable window on the Huidenvettersplein (Tanner’s Square) side of the Guild House (see the image at left for context).

By the mid-20th century, the fish market stalls disappeared and the square became filled with souvenir stalls, chocolate shops and other vendors catering to the large number of tourists spilling onto the square from the nearby Burg Square.


Huidevettershuis Wall Relief 2881
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Detail of the wall relief over the doorway of the Huidenvettershuis.
The pastoral scene shows Tanner’s apprentices gathering milk.


Malvenda Perez House Rozenhoedkaai 2874
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The 15th century Malvenda Perez house (left), Wollestraat hotels and the Belfort (bell tower) on the
Dijver (Groenerei, Green Canal) at the Rozenhoedkaai (Rose Hat Quay, terminal for the tourist boats).

Huis Perez de Malvenda once belonged to the humanist Juan Perez de Malvenda. The Late Gothic house was built at the end of the 15th c. and modified extensively by Malvenda in the 16th century. Juan Perez de Malvenda (1511-1605) was instrumental in protecting the relic of the Holy Blood, brought to Bruges by Thierry of Alsace and stored in the Basilica of the Holy Blood.

During the Calvinist turmoil of Sept. 1578, iconoclasts from Ghent invaded Bruges and sacked every church and chapel in the city. The City Council decided to gather all of the ecclesiastical treasures and store them in the Stadhuis (Town Hall). The Brotherhood of the Holy Blood gave the relic to Guild member Perez de Malvenda, who placed it in a lead coffin and buried that in a wooden coffin in his garden for six years, until in November 1584 the city came under control of the Spanish Authorities again, and Perez de Malvenda gave the relic to the Bishop of Bruges.


Beguinage at Sunrise 2764
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Just north of the Minnewater (the lake at the entrance to Bruges of the coastal river Reie
which was used as a reservoir to keep the level of the canals constant) is the Beguinage.
The Beguinage ‘De Wijngaard’ (Vineyard) is a walled group of houses founded in 1245 by
Margaretha, Countess of Flanders (Margaret II), daughter of Baldwin I of Constantinople.

The Beguines were a lay monastic community in the Low Countries in the 12th-14th centuries. Beguines believed in a purer, more mystical religion than that espoused by the material and formal aspirations of regular clergy. They were distrusted and often persecuted by the church, but in the Netherlands and Belgium, the female followers of this movement were tolerated in the form of the ‘Beguine’ movement, and were allowed to live in separate areas (the Beguinages). This allowed the church to control them. The Beguines lived like normal nuns, but did not take the same vows (plus, they could leave when they wanted to).

The Beguines were more influential on the populace of the Low Countries
than the monks (who lived in the countryside) or the regular clergy. The church
repressed the Beguines, and even accused some of heresy. Marguerite Porete,
a French Beguine, was burned at the stake for heresy in 1310 after being accused
of heresy and being part of the “Free Spirit” movement, but more likely because
she refused to remove her book “The Mirror of Simple Souls” from circulation.

Most Beguinages that still exist are museums or houses for the elderly,
and are in northern Belgian cities such as Bruges, Ghent, Leuven, etc.


Beguinage at Sunrise 2765
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Most of the houses date from the 17th-18th centuries,
but some are older (15th-16th centuries). Since 1937, the
Beguinage has been a Monastery of Benedictine sisters.


Minnewater House Begijnhof 2770
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The house at the north end of the Minnewater Lake on Begijnhof, straddling the canal, which flows under the house as seen in the image below. Superb Flemish Bond brickwork.


Minnewater House Begijnhof 2768
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The superb brickwork, stepped gables and turrets of this house on Begijnhof at the north end
of the Minnewater make it one of the most attractive in the area. It stands directly opposite the
Poortgebouw aan Sasbrug (Gatehouse to Sasbrug) at the junction of Begijnhof and Begijnvest.


Begijnhof House Poortgebouw Sasbrug 2774

Directly opposite Poortgebouw aan Sasbrug (Gatehouse to Sasbrug) on Begijnhof,
across the small transverse canal north of the gate at Begijnvest, is this spectacular
breedhuis (broad house). The exquisite brickwork reflects the early morning light.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Bruges Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 6 Galleries in the Photoshelter Bruges Collection (Direct Links):

Bruges: Burg Square
Market Square and Bell Tower
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw and Gruuthuse
Canal Scenes and Street Scenes
Bruges: Houses and Buildings
Statues and Sculptures


Bruges Houses Groeninge 2059
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Directly behind the Gruuthuse Museum and Arentshuis complex is this charming group of houses
on Groeninge. The 17th century breedhuizen (broad houses) were restored in the early 20th century.


Neo-Gothic Bay Window
Augustijnenrei at Vlamingstraat 2586

Late Gothic Bay Window (1514) on a 16th century house
on Vlamingstraat, overlooking the Augustijnenrei, taken
from the Fleming Bridge. Restored in 1877 and 1974.


Bruges Prinsenhof 1967
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The Prinsenhof, former Palace of the Counts of Flanders and the Dukes of Burgundy. This image was taken during the restoration and conversion to the Kempinski Duke’s Palace Hotel. It was originally built in the 14th century, with later wings.


Bruges Prinsenhof 1972
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The 14th c. Prinsenhof, former Palace of the Counts of Flanders and the Dukes of Burgundy.
In the restoration the ivy was stripped, the brick was cleaned, and a new structure was added behind.


Prinsenhof Duke’s Palace Kempinski Hotel 2956

West view from atop the Belfort (Bell Tower), with the Prinsenhof (Duke’s Palace) at right.


Poortersloge and Old Toll House 2163
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The Poortersloge (Burgher’s Lodge, 1417, left) and the
Old Toll House (1477), where taxes were levied on goods.
Both are located on Jan van Eyckplein in central Bruges.


Sint-Annakerk Bruges 2336
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Sint-Annakerk Tower was built in 1516. The Baroque church was rebuilt from 1580 (the Sacristy was not demolished, and the tower was rebuilt). The current spire was placed in 1761.


St. John’s Hospital Onze-Lieve-Vrouw 2514
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The medieval Sint-Janshospitaal (St. John’s Hospital), one of the oldest hospitals in Europe, with the 122 m. brick tower of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady) rising above it.


St. John’s Hospital Onze-Lieve-Vrouw 2512
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The earliest documentation from Sint-Jans is dated 1188. The lay order of brothers and sisters did not belong to a religious organization until 1459 (to reduce the power of the Duke).


St. John’s Hospital 2509
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In 1600, the hospital, which cared for pilgrims, travellers and the ill, became an all-female institution. It continued functioning as a working hospital for 8 centuries (until the 1970s), when it became a congress and meeting center (the chapel was converted into the Hans Memling Museum).


St. John’s Hospital at Sunrise 2711
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Sint-Janshospitaal at sunrise. This is the oldest part of the St. John’s Hospital, directly across from Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk on Mariastraat. Built in the 12th c. just inside the Mariapoort in the first city gates, the Romanesque tower was built in 1234.


Sint-Salvator over Zuidzandstraat 1995
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Cathedral Sint-Salvator Tower rising above Neo-Classical buildings on Zuidzandstraat.

The tower was primarily built in the 19th century atop the 12th century foundation (much of the
cathedral roof and tower was damaged in a disastrous fire in 1839. The original Romanesque
tower was destroyed by fire in 1358, and a belfry was rebuilt above the foundation in wood (1635).
This is what burned in 1839. The Romanesque Revival tower was built from 1843-1846 under the
direction of the Bruges architect P. Buyck based on designs by English architect R. Chantrell.


Sint-Salvator Tower 2001
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Sint-Salvator Cathedral Tower from the south.


Sint-Salvator Tower Brickwork Detail 1999
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12th century brickwork at the base of the tower.


Cathedral Sint-Salvator 2945
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Cathedral Sint-Salvator from atop the Belfort (bell tower). The oldest surviving part of the cathedral
is the base of the tower (12th c.), much of the rest was built over the later centuries. The upper part
of the tower was built after the 1839 fire, when English architect R. Chantrell restored the cathedral.


Neo-Baroque Houses Speigelrei 2158
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Number 17 Spiegelrei (left) is a 17th century diephuis (deep house) with a 19th century Neo-Baroque facade. No. 18 (right, originally two houses) uses sandstone in a similar manner to that of No. 17, but adds elaborate tracery in the tympana over the upper story windows and an ornate Baroque doorway.


De Kluiver Hoogstraat 2127
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17th century tavern at the corner of Hoogstraat and Meestraat near Burg Square, originally the guild house of the Goldsmiths (De Gouden Kroes). The tympanum (lunette over the window) in the gable has a shell device, the tympana over the windows on the second story have ornate shield devices.


De Jakobijn and Jan Ruysschaert Langestraat 2132
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An unusual juxtaposition of a tavern next to a firearms shop in two 17th century diephuizen (deep houses).


Ter Beurze Vlamingstraat 2604
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Huis ter Beurze, an inn where Italian merchants traded in the 13th-15th centuries, becoming the first stock exchange, or bourse, run by five generations of the Van der Beurse family.

In the late Middle Ages, transportation costs rose and the Champagne annual fairs had ceased to exist.
The Northern Italian merchants looked for different routes to Northern Europe’s Hanseatic and Baltic Sea
merchants, and Bruges lay between the two trading empires. The Brugeans acted as the intermediaries
between foreign merchants, and this brokerage function was often undertaken by innkeepers. One of
the most important of these inns was Ter Beurze, functioning since 1285 as the first inn/exchange
between the Italian and Hanseatic merchants. The Van der Beurse name lives on in the name of
stock exchanges in many countries (beurs or bourse) and the name of the square (Beursplein).


Govaerts House Wollestraat 2095
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The Eclectic facade and iron bay window of Wollestraat No. 9, designed in 1890 by the
Brussels architect Govaerts. The house displays some of the superb lace for which Bruges
is so well known. Bruges lace is a filigree technique made up of ribbons united by chains.
The linen of Flanders was superior to that of other parts of Europe in the Middle Ages, and
Bruges was the most important linen, wool and lace outlet in Flanders in the Middle Ages.
By the 16th and early 17th centuries, bobbin lace or Point de Flanders had become very
popular, especially in the Spanish market. As Bruges had ceased to be a transportation
hub at this time due to the silting up of the Zwin channel providing access to the sea,
the Bruges lace and cloth industries essentially saved the city from financial ruin.


Bruges College Howest Sint-Jorisstraat 2306
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The former State Normal School, Howest (Hogeschool West Vlaanderen) was the Old Guildhall of the Archers of St. George from 1321. The building contains 14th c. architecture.


Bruges College Howest Sint-Jorisstraat 2313
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The building was expanded significantly in the middle of the 16th century with addition of a large house, a chapel and the stair tower. In the 19th c. it was converted to the State school.


Bruges College Howest Sint-Jorisstraat 2310

In the 19th century, City Architect Louis Delacenserie was successful in convincing the Council
to scrap their official plans (with the help of letters to the King by the Archaeological Society) and
allow him to restore the building in Neo-Gothic style, with elaborate tracery in the tympana over the
windows and arch fields, Gothic parapets, and gabled dormers with finials and turrets (reinforced
by modern metal trusses and other structural components). The effect on the Sint-Jorisstraat side
facade as shown above is that of a castle, including an octagonal stair tower under a slate spire.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Bruges Collection page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 6 Galleries in the Photoshelter Bruges Collection (Direct Links):

Bruges: Burg Square
Market Square and Bell Tower
Onze-Lieve-Vrouw and Gruuthuse
Canal Scenes and Street Scenes
Bruges: Houses and Buildings
Statues and Sculptures


Click the image above to return to the Bruges Index page