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Once the capital of the Burgundian Netherlands, still preserves its title as the ecclesiastical capital of Belgium. Monuments such as the aartsbisschoppelijke paleis (Archbishops' Palace) and the grand Sint-Romboutskathedraal bear witness to the city's rich religious past. Undoubtedly the most imposing of its civil buildings, the Stadhuis, or town hall, established in the former Lakenhalle (Drapers' Hall), constitutes the showpiece of Mechelen's Grote Markt, set amongst a number of pristine aristocratic houses.

Religious heritage
Mechelen's religious past is also reflected in several other equally remarkable church buildings, bearers of an impressive heritage. You may wish to admire paintings by Rubens exhibited in two churches : Sint-Janskerk ( De aanbidding van de koningen ) and O.L.Vrouw-over-de-Dijlekerk ( De wonderbare visvangst ). Another important place of worship is the former Jesuit church Pieter en Paulus.

Author: Antrop Copyright © Toerisme Vlaanderen

The Hanswijk procession
Every year, on the Sunday preceding Ascension Thursday, you can join the people of Mechelen as they gather in the city's main streets in what is known as the Hanswijk Procession, a true pearl of local folklore and popular devotion.

Carillon and Gobelin tapestry
Mechelen is world-renowned for its Carillon School, established in Hof van Busleyden, and all the more so for its much acclaimed tapestries. The tradition has been kept alive in the workshops of the De Wit Manufacture, where new tapestries are made by hand and old Gobelins restored according to traditional methods. A visit to the workshop is a unique experience.

Toys and animals
Why not spoil the little ones with a visit to the Toy Museum with its permanent exhibition on the history of toys throughout the centuries, or take them on a visit to the Plankendael Wildlife Park, where no less than 1.000 animals can be seen roaming around in a natural environment. From Easter to September the Wildlife Park can also be reached by boat. Boarding takes place close to the Mechelen train station, on the canal towards Leuven.

And how about refuelling with some of Mechelen's mouth-watering specialities : asparagus in a variety of different combinations and the notorious Mechelse Koekoek, a succulent local breed of chicken. A meal in Mechelen would not be complete without a refreshing regional brew. Try a Gouden Carolus, a Mechelschen Bruynen (full-bodied and dark) or a Toison d'Or (trippel).

Information is Copyright © Toerisme Vlaanderen


Festivals & Events

Jan Van Eyck and the Mediterranean World
24 March - June

The first exhibition dedicated to early Netherlandisch painting and its influence on the Southern European art scene of its days looks at works commissioned from Jan Van Eyck and other Flemish Primitives working abroad. Major works from all over Europe will be brought together in one of the finest museums in Bruges.

Brussel jubel park
Author: d. de Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

The Brueghel Enterprise
22. March - 23. June 2002

The exhibition will bring together about forty paintings by this artist who is well-known for having made an abundant number of copies after the works by his father Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The exhibition aims to juxtapose different versions of the same composition and to study and analyse them with state-of-the-art laboratory techniques. It will be the first time ever that such an important number of versions is gathered. The exhibition is designed around four themes, each of them centred on a reference work: Census in Bethlehem, Winter Landscape with Bird Trap, The Adoration of the Magi in the Snow and The Farmer’s Advocate.

Brugge lace-maker
Author: d. de Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

Adriaan Brouwer Beer Festival

Yearly festival on the market square of the beautiful town of Oudenaarde.
Tel: (32-55) 31-7251

Brussel Grand Place
Author: d. de Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

Jazz Brugge 2002
August - 15-18

De Werf's European Jazz Festival is to be held alternating with the Middelheim festival, i.e. every second year. Its venue will be the newly built, for the Brugge 2002 festivities, concert centre, a modern building with the largest stage in Belgium and capacity of 1400 seats. Its emphasis will be on European jazz and artists. There will be 3 to 4 groups per day, concerts starting around 15h and ending at 23h.

Brugge scenic view
Author: d. de. Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

Diamon Museum - Antwerp

Where the entire process of diamond mining and processing can be viewed.. Antwerp is the very centre of the world's diamond industry. More than 70% of the world's diamonds are cut, polished and traded here.

Brussel procession
Author: A. Koprianov
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

The Royal Greenhouses
April 19 - May 5

The Royal Greenhouses in Laeken cover six acres of neo-classical rotundas, domes and galleries. Twenty full time gardeners tend the giant ferns, fruit-bearing banana trees, grottoes, glades and grassy vistas. Highlights include the Azalea House, the rotunda, a colony of birds and the orange trees. Walkways are filled with climbing geraniums and fuschias, whose blossoms form an overhead canopy. The visit ends with a short walk through the Royal Park.

Brussel Grand'Place flowers
Author: J. J. Soenen
© Toerisme Vlaanderen

The Abbey of Villers-la-Ville
The Cistercian Abbey dates back to the 12th century. In the 19th century, a large number of artists, painters and writers, such as Victor Hugo, were attracted by the beauty of the majestic ruins, which are still sometimes used as a dramatic setting for French drama and classical concerts.

Oostende Mercator
Author: d. de Kievith
© Toerisme Vlaanderen
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