Provided by: Visit Mechelen
Museum Hof van Busleyden

Museum Hof van Busleyden

Welcome to the Museum Hof van Busleyden! Step into this majestic and magnificent Renaissance palace in Mechelen, the capital of the Burgundian Netherlands. Find out more about the surprising Burgundian history as you venture deeper into the Hof van Busleyden, discovering its treasures and stories. Learn more about the Burgundians’ ideas, about the city, about power and about mastership and craftsmanship. Move from lively and bustling rooms to more private and quieter places. In this museum we look back at the city’s glorious history and look ahead to the future, together with you. Travel back and forth, between the past and present. Experiment and engage in a dialogue with the museum and its ever-changing collection. The story is far from finished.
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In the footsteps of Margareta

In the footsteps of Margareta

Travel five hundred years back in time to the days when Mechelen was the capital of the Netherlands. As the city was also the seat of Margareta of Austria’s court, scores of Burgundian noblemen settled here too. This prosperous period left its mark on the city and traces of it have survived to this day, including Burgundian palaces, historic churches, wooden façades and sumptuously decorated guildhalls. This handy brochure brochure takes you back to that rich Burgundian era.
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The eight historical churches

The eight historical churches

Mechelen has churches galore and each contains a profusion of religious treasures. There are no fewer than eight historical churches in the city centre, each well worth a visit! The coloured light which filters through the stained-glass windows and the serene atmosphere which pervades the buildings make a visit a very special experience. The churches also contain works of art, including famous paintings by Rubens and Van Dyck. The latter provided St Rumbold’s Cathedral with a veritable masterpiece: the ‘Crucifixion of Christ’.
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The Fish Market and Lamot site

The Fish Market and Lamot site

If you’d like to see something of authentic Mechelen, do as the Mechelaars do and soak up the atmosphere around Lamot brewery. The old brewery was converted into an ultramodern conference and heritage centre and is a wonderful example of how our industrial heritage can be put to new use. For Mechelen’s trendiest spots, head for the convivial Vismarkt - or Fish Market - on the other side of the Dyle. When the sun’s out, it’s a great place to enjoy it.
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Haverwerf

Haverwerf

Originally oats were unloaded and traded here. Oats used to be synonymous with grain and Mechelen had the exclusive staple rights to grain. Boats carrying grain had to tie up in Mechelen and offer the whole cargo for sale for three whole days. You can't fail to notice the three houses near the bridge. They date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The corner house is called Het Paradijske, Little Paradise. The reliefs above the windows depict the scenes 'Earthly paradise' and 'The tree of knowledge of good and evil'. In the middle is De Duiveltjes, The Little Devils, one of the most beautiful wooden façades in the country. We know that it used to be called De Verloren Zoon, The Prodigal Son, because the story is depicted above the front door. Enjoy the waterside!
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Zoutwerf

Zoutwerf

When the city acquired the staple for salt in 1301, the historic quay on the Grootbrug or Large Bridge was renamed the 'Zoutwerf' or Salt Wharf. You will immediately notice the two authentic façades of 'De Waag' and 'De Steur'. De Steur served as a warehouse, while the goods were weighed in De Waag ('Weighhouse').Another striking building is the former guildhall of the fishmongers, 'In den Grooten Zalm' – In the Large Salmon. The 'Innehuysken' to the right of 'De Waag' is where the 'innegeld' – 'monies received' – was paid, an early form of taxation. The building was destroyed by fire in the 17th century, but the fishmongers pulled together, rebuilt it and renamed it 'De Kleine Zalm', 'The Small Salmon'.
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Sense-Sations

Sense-Sations

Do you want to make your visit even more of an experience? Then consider purchasing a surprising voucher booklet full of Sense-sations. An amazing array of typical Mechelen flavours awaits you. The Sense-sations package is the perfect introduction to a handful of local specialities, from beer-based cheese to artisan sweet treats. Don't forget to take a breather while sampling all these goodies. The package also entitles you to discounts to various must-see attractions and monuments.
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Royal Manufacturers De Wit

Royal Manufacturers De Wit

The world-famous De Wit Royal Manufacturers of Tapestry is an absolute ‘must’. For four generations antique tapestries have been cleaned and conserved here using state-of-the-art technology. On Saturday mornings visitors can take a look inside the workshop and watch a weaving demonstration. The House of Refuge of Tongerlo Abbey dates from the 15th century. These days the building houses the Royal Manufacturers De Wit, a world-famous tapestry- weaving and restoration workshop. If the gate is open, step into the beautiful garden. You will see a number of plants growing which are depicted on historical tapestries.
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Aldermen’s building

Aldermen’s building

As the first stone town hall to be built in Flanders, Mechelen’s Schepenhuis is steeped in history. In the 13th century it served as the town hall and meeting place of the municipal court of justice and in the 15th century as the seat of the Great Council and the Parliament of Mechelen. Municipal academy, museum, city archive and city library, the building went on to perform numerous other roles. In September 2018 the building saw its latest incarnation as the brand-new home of Visit Mechelen, the tourist information office. It is manned by experts on the local area who help visitors get the most out of their visit to Mechelen, so it is the ideal first port of call. It is also conveniently located between the four central points of the city: the Grote Markt, IJzerenleen, St Rumbold’s Tower and the Bruul.
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Winter Garden of the Ursuline nuns

Winter Garden of the Ursuline nuns

We have no idea what prompted the Ursuline nuns in Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Waver to make the rather bold decision to build this truly magnificent Art Nouveau building. After all, this style was considered hyper-modern in 1900. And yet, this enchanting Winter Garden with its colourful stained glass cupola was considered the most stunning feature of their boarding school. What’s even more intriguing is that nobody knows who designed the Winter Garden. And yet the architect’s design skills are unparalleled. Don’t believe us? Well, come take a look for yourself because this is Art Nouveau at its most resplendent.
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House of Refuge of St Trond’s Abbey

House of Refuge of St Trond’s Abbey

Very early on the abbots of abbeys and monasteries had refuges built in the walled towns where they could stay during a visit to that town or on their way to their often extensive landed estates. In times of war, these refuges also offered protection. The House of Refuge of St Trond's Abbey was established by the Benedictine Abbey in the 16th century to improve contact between the abbey and the archbishop. These days this beautiful building is part of the archbishop's palace to which it is linked by means of a covered bridge.
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The Cells

The Cells

In the shadow of St Rumbold's Tower is a unique historical monument. 'De Cellekens' was originally a charitable institution which took in needy women without a family to care for them. The three wings form a U-shape around the magnificent enclosed garden. Originally each door provided access to two small rooms with bed, cupboard, chair and table. The institution derives its name from these little 'cells'. 'De Cellekens' was empty for a long time but then the new owners, artist Mariette Teugels and her photographer husband Herman Smet, restored the building. You can see some of Mariette Teugels' work in the new garden.
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Grootbrug

Grootbrug

The Grootbrug or Large Bridge, also known as the Hoogbrug - High Bridge, connects the IJzerenleen on the other side with the Korenmarkt. This sandstone structure dating from the thirteenth century is the oldest stone bridge in Flanders. The Grootbrug used to be a toll bridge; payment was exacted both on the water and on the street. The bases of two small defence towers are still visible. The Guldenstraat, Korenmarkt and Hoogstraat lead in a direct line from the Grootbrug to the Brusselpoort, the only surviving city gate.
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