Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Belfries of Belgium and France

It's incredible how hard it was for me to get a postcard of a belfry of France when there are 23 in the country! From Belgium it wasn't that hard. Now, I already have a few of each country and I hope to get more.

Belfry of Bruges
This postcard was sent by Amina

The belfry of Bruges (DutchBelfort van Brugge) is a medieval bell tower in the historical centre of BrugesBelgium. One of the city's most prominent symbols, the belfry formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger. A narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps, accessible by the public for an entry fee, leads to the top of the 83 m (272 feet) high building, which leans about a metre (3 ft) to the east. - in: wikipedia

Belfry of Kortrijk
This postcard was sent by Javier

The belfry of Kortrijk, or Belfort in Dutch, is a medieval bell tower in the historical centre of KortrijkBelgium. One of the city's most prominent symbols, the belfry formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger.
The belfry was added to the main market square around 1307, when Courtray was prospering as an important centre of the Flemishcloth industry. The oldest part (the base) of the tower still dates back to this date. Because the original tower had stability problems, the top was shortened and replaced with a lower spire with four small spires on each corner. - in: wikipedia

City Hall and Belfry of Veurne
This postcard was sent by Javier

Veurne is a city and municipality in the Belgian province of West Flanders.

Several Renaissance-style buildings, mostly built using the local light-coloured brick, adorn Veurne's central market square. Among these are the city hall (Landhuis) and belfry, which is recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in 1999. - in: wikipedia

City Hall and Belfry of Dendermonde
This postcard was sent by Javier

The town hall was originally the hall and storehouse of the weavers’ guild. In the Middle Ages they were among the richest people in the town, since cloth-making was the most important industry in Flanders at that time. The building also housed the arsenal and the town weigh-house and it was here that all goods that were traded were weighed.
In 1377 the town council had a belfry built in part of the cloth hall as a symbol of the town’s power and freedom. It was used, among other things, for the safekeeping of the town’s charters and privileges. - in: https://www.toerismedendermonde.be/product/873/town-hall-and-belfry

Belfry and Cloth Hall of Ghent
This postcard was sent by Valérie

The 91-metre-tall belfry of Ghent is one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city centre of GhentBelgium, the other two belonging to Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas' Church. Its height makes it the tallest belfry in Belgium.
Construction of the tower began in 1313 after a design by master mason Jan van Haelst. (...) After continuing intermittently through wars, plagues and political turmoil, the work reached completion in 1380. 
The rectangular hall adjoining the belfry was built to headquarter the affairs of the cloth trade that made the city rich during the Middle Ages. 
A small annex dating from 1741, called the Mammelokker, served as the entrance and guard's quarters of the city jail that occupied part of the old cloth hall from 1742 to 1902. The name refers to the sculpture of Roman Charity poised high above the front doorway. - in: wikipedia

Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp
This postcard arrived from Spain sent by Patricia

The Cathedral of Our Lady is a Roman Catholic cathedral in AntwerpBelgium. Today's see of the Diocese of Antwerp started in 1352 and, although the first stage of construction was ended in 1521, has never been 'completed'. In Gothic style, its architects were Jan and Pieter Appelmans. It contains a number of significant works by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, as well as paintings by artists such as Otto van VeenJacob de Backer and Marten de Vos
The church's one finished spire is 123 metres (404 ft) high, the highest church tower in the BeneluxCharles V, Holy Roman Emperorcommented that the spire should be kept under glass, and Napoleon compared the spire to Mechlin lace.- in: wikipedia

Antwerp City Hall
This postcard was sent by Hanko

The Stadhuis (City Hall) of AntwerpBelgium, stands on the western side of Antwerp's Grote Markt (Great Market Square). Erected between 1561 and 1565 after designs made by Cornelis Floris de Vriendt and several other architects and artists, this Renaissance building incorporates both Flemish and Italian influences. - in: wikipedia

St. Rumbold's Cathedral
This postcard arrived from Spain sent by Patricia

St. Rumbold's Cathedral (DutchSint-Romboutskathedraal) is the Belgian metropolitan archiepiscopal cathedral in Mechelen, dedicated to Saint Rumbold, Christian missionary and martyr who had founded an abbey nearby.
Construction of the church itself started shortly after 1200, and it was consecrated in 1312, when part had become usable. From 1324 onwards the flying buttresses and revised choir structure acquired characteristics that would distinguish Brabantine Gothic from French Gothic.
During the final phase of 1452-1520, the tower was erected, financed by pilgrims and later by its proprietor, the City.
The flat-topped silhouette of the cathedral's tower is easily recognizable and dominates the surroundings. For centuries it held the city documents, served as a watchtower, and could sound the fire alarm. Despite its characteristic incompleteness, this World Heritage monument is 97.28 metres high and its 514 steps are mounted by thousands of tourists every year, following the footsteps of Louis XVNapoleonKing Albert I, and King Baudouin with queen Fabiola in 1981. - in: wikipedia

Old Cloth Hall with Belfry of Mechelen
This postcard was sent by Javier

Mechelen actually has three town halls: the old Schepenhuis, the Huis De Beyaert and the present-day town hall. Behind the latter you also have the brand-new administrative centre called the 'Huis van de Mechelaar'.
But to return to the present-day town hall on the Grote Markt, it consists of two parts: the cloth hall with unfinished belfry and the Palace of the Great Council. Why wasn't the belfry ever finished? The cloth trade went into decline in the fourteenth century and there wasn't the money to complete the building. For two hundred years the belfry was no more than a shell, until it was eventually provided with a temporary roof in the sixteenth century. Temporary? That roof is still there.
The belfry is now a UNESCO world heritage site. On the right of the belfry you can see the oldest part of the town hall, the remains of the earlier cloth hall. On the left is the Palace of the Great Council. The Great Council? It never actually met here, because this wing was only completed in the twentieth century in accordance with the original sixteenth-century plans of the then leading architect Rombout Keldermans. - in: https://visit.mechelen.be/en/town-hall

St Peter's Church of Leuven
This postcard arrived from Spain sent by Patricia

Saint Peter's Church (Dutch: Sint-Pieterskerk) of LeuvenBelgium, is situated on the city's Grote Markt (main market square), right across the ornate Town Hall. Built mainly in the 15th century in Brabantine Gothic style, the church has a cruciform floor plan and a low bell tower that has never been completed. It is 93 meters long.
In 1505, Joost Matsys (brother of painter Quentin Matsys) forged an ambitious plan to erect three colossal towers of freestone surmounted by openwork spires, which would have had a grand effect, as the central spire would rise up to about 170 m, making it the world's tallest structure at the time. Insufficient ground stability and funds proved this plan impracticable, as the central tower reached less than a third of its intended height before the project was abandoned in 1541. After the height was further reduced by partial collapses from 1570 to 1604, the main tower now rises barely above the church roof; at its sides are mere stubs - in: wikipedia

Belfry of Tournai (at the right)
This postcard was sent by Natália

The belfry (Frenchbeffroi) of TournaiBelgium, is a freestanding bell tower of medieval origin, 72 metres in height with a 256-step stairway.
Construction of the belfry began around 1188 when King Philip Augustus of France granted Tournai its town charter, conferring among other privileges the right to mount a communal bell to ring out signals to the townsfolk. - in: wikipedia

Belfry of the City Hall of Lille
This postcard was sent by Ana

In Lille, the belfry is attached to the City hall and dominates the city by its height. With its typical architecture, it is the highest of the region Nord Pas de Calais.
Made in bricks, the material used at this time in the region, the belfry of Lille was unveiled in 1932. Symbolical watchtowers for the northern cities, the belfries were used to inform that the population had to be gathered.
The belfry of Lille is the heist of the region: with its 104m high, it dominates the town and it’s also the highest municipal building of France. - in: http://www.visitlilles.com/en/heritage-and-culture/monuments-and-architecture/EN/42/the-belfry-of-the-town-hall

Belfry of the City Hall of Arras
This postcard arrived from Finland sent by Anu

The Gothic town hall and its belfry were constructed between 1463 and 1554 and had to be rebuilt in a slightly less grandiose style after World War I. The belfry is 75 meters (246 feet) high and used to serve as a watchtower. Nowadays tourists can enjoy ascending the belfry. - in: wikipedia

Belfry of the City Hall of Calais
This postcard was sent by Hanko

One of Calais’ finest landmarks is the Town Hall (1911-25) whose clock towering belfry can be seen for miles around. This magnificent neo-Femish-style structure built of brick and stone was finally completed in 1925 after being interrupted by The Great War. - in: http://www.calais-guide.co.uk/sights/hotel-de-ville.html

Belfry of The City Hall of Hesdin (left)
This postcard was sent by Hanko

Hesdin The Town Hall, built in the sixteenth century, has a red brick facade, while its plinth is made of sandstone. One can observe the coat of arms of Charles V, and the weapons of the Prince de Ligne, on the part of the sixteenth century. Inside, the marriage hall exposes an array of Vluitel inspired by Dante's Inferno by Delacroix, while the music room has an impressive fireplace of the sixteenth century the arms of Robert de Melun. The Flemish tapestries from the room tapestries, have been classified as an historic monument. - in: http://www.france-voyage.com/cities-towns/hesdin-24196.htm

The belfries (in red what I have):


  • Belfry of Bruges
  • City Hall and Belfry of Diksmuide
  • Belfry of Kortrijk
  • Belfry of Lo-Reninge
  • Town Hall and Belfry of Menen
  • Town Hall and Belfry of Nieuwpoort
  • Town Hall and Belfry of Roeselare
  • Belfry, Cloth Hall and Aldermen's Chamber of Tielt
  • City Hall and Belfry of Veurne
  • Cloth Hall with Belfry of Ypres
  • Aldermen's House with Belfry of Aalst
  • City Hall with Belfry of Dendermonde
  • City Hall with Belfry of Eeklo
  • Belfry, Cloth Hall and Mammelokker of Ghent
  • City Hall with Belfry of Oudenaarde
  • Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp
  • City Hall of Antwerp
  • Former City & 'Laken'(Cloth) Hall of Herentals
  • City Hall and Belfry tower of Lier
  • St. Rumbold's Tower of the Cathedral of Mechelen
  • Old Cloth Hall with Belfry of Mechelen
  • Saint Peter's Church and Tower in Leuven
  • St. Germanus Church with Stadstoren (City Tower) in Tienen
  • Saint Leonard's Church in Zoutleeuw
  • City Hall with Tower of Sint-Truiden
  • Basilica of Our Lady with Stadstoren (City Tower) in Tongeren
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Binche
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Charleroi
  • Belfry of Mons
  • Belfry of Thuin
  • Belfry of Tournai
  • Belfry of Gembloux
  • Belfry of Namur
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Armentières
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Bailleul
  • Belfry of Bergues
  • Belfry of the St. Martin's Church in Cambrai
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Comines
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Douai
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Dunkirk
  • Belfry of the Church Saint Eloi in Dunkirk 
  • Belfry of Gravelines
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Lille
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Loos
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Aire-sur-la-Lys
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Arras
  • Belfry of Béthune
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Boulogne-sur-Mer
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Calais
  • Belfry of the City Hall of Hesdin
  • Belfry of Abbeville
  • Belfry of Amiens
  • Belfry of the former Municipal Hall, now tourist information center in Doullens
  • Belfry on the remaining City Gate of Lucheux
  • Belfry of Rue
  • Belfry of Saint-Riquier

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