The Groeninge Museum in Winter

The Groeninge Museum, St Johns Hospital and Gruuthuse Museum in Bruges.

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Groeninghe Museum

The Fine Arts Museum of Bruges or Groeningemuseum is internationally renowned for its significant collection of early Netherlandish painting, which has formed the core of the museum’s most successful exhibitions in recent decades. This part of the collection consists of a number of masterpieces by  Hans Memling, Jan van Eyck, Hugo van der Goes and Gerard David, as well as works by masters active in Bruges in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, including the Masters of the Lucia- and Ursula Legend, Ambrosius Benson,Pieter Pourbus the Elder and Lancelot Blondeel.

The Groeninge Museum offers a varied overview of the Flemish Primitives,  top 18th and 19th-century neoclassical pieces, and masterpieces from Flemish Expressionism.

Artists such as Suvée, Duvivier, Ducq, Odevaere, and Kinsoen are known for their historical pieces and portraits in a cool and sculptural style. The remarkable collection of paintings by Flemish expressionists also catches the eye, with work by Permeke, De Smet, Van den Berghe, Brusselmans and Tytgat. The Groeninge Museum owes its international appeal not only to its exceptional permanent collection but also to the prestigious exhibitions that take place regularly.

The Groeninge Museum is located in the district of the same name, where once stood the Eekhout Abbey. Designed by architect Joseph Viérin, since 1930 the central collection of paintings from Bruges has been centralizing. An adjacent neo-Gothic building by architect Jean-Baptiste Bethune provides extra space since 1995. Viérins building will undergo a thorough renovation in 2002 and recently also an adapter circuit for the permanent collection. From Flemish primitives to modern art The permanent collection shows a rich and fascinating overview of six centuries of visual art in the Southern Netherlands, which corresponds to current Belgium.Groeninghe museum

Highlights are the world-famous collection of Flemish primitives, gems of Renaissance and Baroque masters, a selection of 18th and 19th century neoclassical and realistic works, milestones of symbolism and modernism, top works of Flemish expressionism and a varied selection from the post-war collection. modern Art. The Groeninge Museum is part of the Flemish Art Collection, a joint venture between three art-historical museums in Flanders: the Groeninge Museum in Bruges, the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

Groeninge Museum

Dijver 12, 8000 Bruges

+32 50 44 87 11

Rate: 8 €


Opening hours:

Tuesday: from 9:30 to 17:00, Wednesday: from 9:30 to 17:00 , Thursday: from 9:30 to 17:00 , Friday: from 9:30 to 17:00 Saturday: from 9:30 to 17:00 Sunday: from 9:30 to 17:00

St Johns Hospital

In St. John’s Hospital, good for more than 8 centuries of history, sisters and brothers took care of pilgrims, travelers and the sick. The medieval wards and the associated church house an impressive collection of archival documents, works of art, medical instruments and six works by Hans Memling.

The medical knowledge of the nuns is, however, minimal and they devote themselves mainly to ‘soul care’. Medicine saints on paintings and sculptures, reliquaries and an atmospheric chapel point to lively devotion. In the 19th century, the hospital moved to a nearby neo-gothic building in bright red brick, where the ill can still go to 1978.

The fact that the art objects are interwoven with the location and its former inhabitants gives the museum an absolute added value. Many objects are also made to measure for the hospital community and depict the clients.


The Sint-Janshospitaal has six top works by the Flemish Primitive Hans Memling, but also many religiously inspired paintings and sculptures. Applied art such as furniture, silver, medical instruments, reliquaries, archival documents, and pharmacy jars bear witness to 800 years of care. St. John’s Hospital is one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe.

In the museum, you will learn more about the former hospital life and what the wards looked like then. Furniture, paintings, sculptures, silverware, and pewter objects are the silent witnesses of a centuries-long hospital and soul care in this hospital. Another unique feature is the roof truss of the building, which is one of the oldest and most monumental in Europe.

Do not forget to pay a visit to the old pharmacy and the herb gardens. In the hospital chapel, all attention goes to the works of the best-known Flemish Primitives: Hans Memling. This painter lived and worked in Bruges in the 15th century and created his most important masterpieces, such as the famous Ursula shrine, for the Sint-Jans hospital.

Where: Saint John’s Hospital Mariastraat 8000 Bruges

 +32 50 44 87 11

Rate: € 8

Audience: Every type of audience


Tuesday: from 9:30 to 17:00 Wednesday: from 9:30 to 17:00 Thursday: from 9:30 to 17:00 Friday: from 9:30 to 17:00 Saturday: from 9:30 to 17:00 Sunday: from 9:30 to 17:00

Gruuthuse Museum

State archivist Felix d’Hoop set up the Société Archéologique (Archaeological Society) in 1865. The society collected art and archaeological objects that illustrated the rich past of Flanders and Bruges.

The society collects Flemish (art) historical objects, building fragments and archeological elements. Barely a year later, the public can watch them in the Halls of the Belfry. The collection is growing enormously.

Looking for a new home, the society can convince the city council in 1873 to purchase the Gruuthuse Palace. In 1876 the City of Bruges acquired the Gruuthuse palace to store the society’s collection, following a thorough renovation by city architect Louis Delancanserie.


Lodewijk van Gruuthuse (1427-1492) was by far the most famous inhabitant of the Gruuthuse palace. He was a well-respected man, a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece and a confidant of the Dukes of Burgundy. At the start of the 15th century, the Gruuthuse family built their former storehouse into a luxurious mansion. Lodewijk later added a south wing with a chapel, through which a connection arose with the Church of Our Lady. The Spanish king Philip IV bought the building in 1596 and donated it to the Mount of Piety as a charitable pawnshop.


The idea of ​​a historical museum has been around for a long time. Visitors and residents need a coherent story about the history of Bruges. After various scenarios are reviewed, the Bruggemuseum will be officially presented in November 2003.
Bruges does not opt ​​for one new museum such as Antwerp or Ghent. For the bundling of eleven museum locations that together bring the story of the city. The concept of this "multi-location museum" gradually evolved, but is already yielding some beautiful realizations: Archeology and Family Museum, Gentpoort and City Hall.
Today the Bruggemuseum is facing its biggest challenge with the redesign of the Gruuthuse Museum. As a result, the museum group is working hard on its mission. They want to inspire residents and visitors for Bruges and its cultural heritage, to introduce them to the past and to reflect on Bruges today.
After all, not only the various museum sites, but also the monumental patrimony, the collections and the intangible heritage form the connection between city and people.
The concept of the Gruuthuse Museum as a city museum is being developed in collaboration with heritage partners from within and outside Bruges.

The Gruuthuse collection includes lace, goldware, furniture, ceramics, and objects for everyday use.

Currently, the Gruuthusemuseum is closed for major restoration work. The reopening is planned at the end of May 2019. (AdresDijver 17, 8000 Brugge)

Bruges and the Middle Ages

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Bruges, the capital and largest city of the West Flanders Province, is located in North-West Belgium in the Flemish Region.

The city derives its name from Old Dutch for “bridge”; and Brugehoofd (“bridgehead”) or Brug (“bridge”) in modern Dutch. The name comes from the city functioning as a bridge on the Reie River, which was used as a channel to bring merchandise to the city, which controlled the commercial traffic. As one of the cultural and commercial capitals in Europe, Bruges developed cultural connections with other parts of the world.

The city enthusiastically welcomed foreign traders, especially the spice and pepper traders from Portugal. And because of the many Italians present in Bruges at the time, the city quickly came to be a center of Renaissance and Humanism. At one time, it was considered the world’s “major city of commerce”. – and its history marks it as a dazzling city in the Northern part of Europe with so much flamboyance as Venice in the Mediterranean World.

Like many Flemish cities, Textile was one of the main things that propelled Bruges to prosperity. Much exchange was associated with England’s woolen industry -which was then the source of the best standard of wool. By the latter part of the thirteenth century, Bruges had become a big place for trading cloth. It is often purported that even when the King of France, Philip the Fair had visited Bruges in 1301, his wife, Joanna of Navarre, was so astonished by the inhabitants’ wealth and luxury clothes that she supposedly claimed: ‘I thought I was the only queen, but I notice here that I have six hundred rivals’.

During the time of Philippe le Bon (1419-67), the city became a center of Flemish art with Jan van Eyck, and Memling exercising a considerable influence on both Flemish and European art. Flemish art thrived and Bruges’ artists commonly referred to as the Flemish Primitives – produced masterpieces that are still seen today in various parts of the world. The excellent condition of many of these existing early Flemish paintings is no doubt due to the expert approach of the artists and the quality of the colors they applied, bound with oil.

Bruges quickly became an economic capital of Europe in the fifteenth century and the economic wealth subsequently brought affluent traders to the city. These affluent traders lived in splendid houses stuffed with great artworks. In the beginning of the Burgundian dynasty, the influential Flemish primitives such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling discovered their creative niches in the city of Bruges, which then swiftly became the inspirational source for many artists.


The Historic Town of Brugge is a testimony to a major change of influences on the advancements of architecture over a long period, especially in Gothic brick, which defines its different stages of advancement. The increasing prosperity of the city was mirrored in the architecture of public buildings, like the magnificent Belfry at the Grand-Place. The historic town of Bruges also supports revolutionary artistic influences in the advancement of medieval painting. Being the homeland of the Flemish Primitives School, Bruges tends to be an excellent model of an architectural ensemble, showing significant periods in the cultural and commercial areas in medieval Europe, of which the social, public, and religious institutions are a living testimony. It is an exceptional illustration of a medieval historic settlement, which has kept its historic fabric, and where the cities identity is partly original Gothic architecture.

Right from the Middle Ages up until modern times, the architecture of Bruges has been mainly distinguished by Gothic brick and most specifically by a construction style called travéeoise. This style of engineering was well recognized during the early sixteenth century. With some subsequent variations, it was kept up until the 17th century which also became the foremost inspiration for reconstructions in the 19th-century.


Bruges has the majority of its gothic architecture intact. A lot of its medieval buildings are distinguished, and among them is the Church of Our Lady, which has a brick spire reaching 122.3 m (401.25 ft), making it one of the highest brick towers in the world.

The Madonna and Child sculpture, which can be viewed in the transept, is considered to be Michelangelo’s sole sculpture that was taken from Italy during his lifetime.

Also, the most distinguished landmark of Bruges is its 13th-century Belfry housing – a city carillon made up of 48 bells. The most important of the squares in Bruges are the Grand’Place and the Burg. For over 1,000 years, the Burg square has continued to be the symbol of alliance between the social and religious authorities, plus the seat of many other public institutions such as the dispensing of justice.


The Historical City of Bruge also happens to be the homeland of the Flemish Primitives as well as a center of the growth of painting in the Middle Ages with artists such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling making significant advances both in illusionism and natural representation. Their Paintings generally has complex iconography with their subjects generally being religious scenes or small portraits with narrative painting or mythological subjects being comparatively rare.


Bruges’s principal gallery, The Groeninghe museum – where some of the best Flemish primitives are stored – is also referred to as ‘The city museum of Fine Arts’. The term ‘Groeninge’ pertains to the immediate ‘Groeninge straat’, which means Groeninge Street. The name also pertains to the Groeninge fields found in the Kortrijk city where the Flemish army defeated the French king’s army in 1302. A superb and very treasured collection of Flemish masters is the pride of the Groening museum. These compilations in the museum span multiple centuries (from the 14th to the 20th century) and focuses generally on works by artists who resided and labored in Bruges.

Jan Van Eyck, by whom the Groeninge Museum keeps two original works plus an early copy, is mostly considered as the originator of the school of Flemish Primitive as well as its generally well-regarded optical realism. He had an enormous impact on Flemish painting in both the fifteenth and sixteenth century. In conjunction with their technical excellence, fine preservation state, and results, the paintings of Jan van Eyck are also outstanding for their objective yet enticing depiction of persons (the saints) and nature, which he brilliantly refabricated in miniature.


The most diverse of the 26 Bruges museums is The Gruuthuse museum – a museum of applied arts found in the house of Louis de Gruuthuse. In the late middle ages, this house belonged to the family Van Brugghe-van der Aa, -the lords of ‘Gruuthuse’ who possessed the monopoly of selling ‘Gruut’ – a medieval mixture of spices used in making beer. The ‘Archaeological Society’ of Bruges established the current art collections and antiques in 1865. The building was at first used by the city of Bruges to display the archaeological collection of the Société Archéologique, and over the years, extended into a more standard museum in 1955 after the city had acquired the collections.

The Gruuthuse collection extends from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. The museum showcases the interior of a house of a rich family, just like how it would have been in the late middle ages with a collection of everyday tools and utensils showing everyday life between the 15th and 19th centuries. The collection includes lace, furniture, goldware, and items of everyday use, which will transport you back through time to medieval Bruges. The main hall in the museum happens to be one of the main attractions with its magnificent collection of Flemish tapestries, richly ornamented rafters, and impressive fireplace, all depicting the wealth and affluence of the lords of Gruuthuse. On exhibit are also the renowned and prestigious lace collections in gold and silver, weapons, ceramics and the small musical instrument cabinet. Among the collection is the most known item- the painted terracotta bust of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

The exterior of the museum is to some extent original, and in part a reconstruction; whiles the interior is generally a reconstruction of the late 19th century Neogothic medieval interior.


Bruges maintains the urban architecture that defines and document its different stages of advancement. And the historic center continues to cover absolutely that same areas as the boundary of the old settlement. The reconstruction of its facades in the late 19th-century reconstructions introduced a neo-Gothic style that is exclusive for Bruges and it continues to be an energetic, living city.

The historic center of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. In the last half of the 19th century, the city became one of the first tourist sites of the world bringing in wealthy French and British tourists. The city still makes use of a full-time carillonneur that offers free performances on a consistent basis. Reconstructions of household and commercial structures, churches, and ancient monuments brought about an increase in tourism in general as well as economic activity in the ancient downtown area. International tourism has exploded, and new efforts have resulted in Bruges being marked ‘Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2002. It attracts about 7 million tourists every single year.

In Bruges, the movie

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“In Bruges”, the movie  is a 2008 British-American black comedy crime film written and directed by M McDonagh. with stars as Colin Farrell and  Ralph Fiennes. “In Bruges”, the movie was filmed in the Belgian city of Bruges. Actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two Irish hitmen in hiding, with Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes as their boss.

Beautiful Bruges attractions is the quintessential fairy-tale city with its maze of cobbled streets, picturesque canals, elegant houses and historic churches; you can easily feel that you are stepping onto a movie set.

Our city’s mood changes with the seasons, from the lively, bustling crowds of the summer to the peaceful, icy winter streets.

There’s a wide array of things to see and do here in Bruges; the less active among you might choose to hire a horse and carriage or take a relaxing guided tour of the canal. If you prefer to walk, you can lose yourself in the winding streets or, for a little peace and quiet, visit Minnewater Lake, the so-called Lake of Love. We challenge you not to find this spot with its dazzling colours and graceful swans, truly romantic.

When you’re ready for something to eat and drink, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Bruges has a wide range of cafes and restaurants which can’t fail to tantalise your taste buds. From the  3 Michelin starred ‘De Karmeliet’ whose chef patron, Gert Van Heecke, is one of the godfathers of Belgian haute cuisine to simple ‘Frietkot’ or fries vans selling freshly made, piping hot chips with, of course, a good dollop of mayonnaise, you will find something to suit all tastes and budgets. Then there’s the chocolate…lots of it and it’s some of the best you’ll ever taste. Bypass the many chocolate shops around the Main Square or Markt and head for the cool and contemporary Bar Choc on Walstraat. There you can sample dishes such as rabbit in chocolate sauce, chocolate pancakes or gorge yourself on one of the 44 kinds of hot and cold chocolate drink; all made from real Belgian chocolate of course. Chocoholic heaven!

If you are a culture vulture, you’ll definitely want to make time to visit at least one of the galleries and museums. From contemporary Belgian plastic art to some of the finest works of the neoclassical period, via the whacky Frietmuseum (an attraction dedicated to the humble potato) we’ve got it all.

Film fans might like to follow in the footsteps of Coin Farrell in “In Bruges” and make the lung-busting 366 step climb to the top of the Belfort  – not for the faint-hearted.When you’re done with your sightseeing, head to the Markt at the centre of the medieval city; grab a table at one of the cafes and enjoy watching the world go by with a glass of famous Belgian beer. The local drop; “Bruges Zot” or Bruges fool is definitely one to try. You’ll find bars selling as many as 100 different beers from light golden ales to dark, fruity sticky beers each served in its own specific glass. After a day of sampling all that Bruges has to offer, what could be better than making your way home to White Rooms?   Our interior designer, Natalie Haegeman really has thought of everything to create a concept which is both contemporary, comfortable and completely in harmony with its central location.

You can unwind in the cosy living room, soak weary limbs in the antique bath tub and chill out in front of the flat screen TV before heading back into the city to enjoy more food, drinks and the vibrant nightlife. Or, if you prefer, it’s off to bed to catch up on your sleep ready to start your adventure again bruges,

Sweet Dreams!

Data: In Bruges-The movie Release date: July, 2008 (Belgium)

Director and Screenplay: Martin McDonagh


Music by: Carter Burwell

Awards: Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy





Is Bruges the ultimate best medieval town?

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The Historic Centre of Bruges is the city’s UNESCO World Heritage site and it depicts the many stages of the cultural evolution of the city.

Bruges is a haven for those enchanted by swooping and high flying designs that haunt with their shapes as much as they do with their imposing presence.

This is evident from history of the city’s name, as mediaval Bruges was once known as Bruggas, Brvggas,  and Brvccia in the earliest days of the country, around 840–875. The name is most likely derived from the Old Dutch word for bridge or the Middle Dutch words brucge and brugge, which is fitting considering Bruges’ status as a bridge between the classic beauty of old Europe and its more modern avant-garde face. The city of Bruges is historically unique even amongst the old world European wonders which surround Belgium.(see Bruges guide).

The complex history of Bruges began with the mysterious the Pre-Roman Gaulera settlement; however the first cultural and historical mentions of the area concerns the construction of fortifications built after Julius Caesar conquered the Menapii during the tumultuous first century B.C. At that time Bruges was an important stronghold and the fortress was built specifically to deal with pirates. In later years Bruges’ connection to the sea would lead to it becoming a place known for nautical interest and trade, making it a haven for those looking for money, a fresh start, or an enriching port side holiday.

One of the high points in Bruges’ history, sometimes referred to as the golden age, was between the 12th and 15th centuries, beginning when Bruges was given a city charter and when the now famous canals and walls were built. This helped to establish the ever important connection to the sea and helped to revitalize the area, marking a period of intense trade and an era which brought money, spices, art, and culture to Bruges. All of it led to the city becoming a home to wondrous invention and architecture, as well as sumptuous food. The blend of wonderful flavours and sights was a product of the French influence on Flemish style brought about by the cloth trade and its remnants still exist today. Another early cultural influence to the area during this time came in the form of an Italian style merchant economy, leading to an intense patronage of the arts which helped to give Bruges its cultural soul.

In the centre of the city, one of the most profound influences on this area exist in the form of Original Gothic buildings, standing as essential parts of the community’s identity. The Historic Centre is made up of astounding examples of architectural genius that resonates with the spirit of structural ingenuity that became the hallmark of a resurgence of vitality in medieval Europe. This area also marks the birth of the famous artistic movement known as the Flemish Primitives, specifically notifyng of Bruges’ history of patronage towards this movement.

In terms of the actual layout, the centre is a marvel of urban planning with a conservative spatial arrangement which denotes specific stages of the areas development, especially considering that the centre is located directly on the original settlement. The marked position of the architecture, including the presence of brick Gothic buildings, is also infused with the presence the Flemish artistic sensibility including the influence of artists like Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling.

In regards to the architecture alone, the city of Bruges is a haven for those enchanted by swooping and high flying designs that haunt with their shapes as much as they do with their imposing presence. With several churches and cathedrals dating back to the Middle Ages that are a sight to behold, this area is built and maintained to preserve the city’s history as a port city in Northwest Europe. One of the prizes of the city is the St. Savior’s Cathedral, Bruge’s most ancient parish church and a place known for its paintings. In this parish you will find The Historical Museum Belfry and Halles, which allow the opportunity of having a wonderful walk through the history and also present a spectacular view.

One of the main artistic and historical attractions in Bruges is most certainly the Vlaamse Primitieven, otherwise known as the Flemish Primitives, which as we’ve covered, began with the sudden affluence brought into Bruges by rich merchants of that time. This led to the building of palaces that were filled with some of the most ground breaking artworks of this specific movement which created a demand for the works of the high concept Flemish Primitives, chief among them being Hans Memling and the famous Jan van Eyck. From any of the Bruges guesthouse locations you can find museums which house these complex works of medieval art.

A more accessible and current example of Belgian artistry, unique to Bruges, can be found in the city’s food and culinary wonders. Bruges has an excellent gastronomic reputation, constantly providing travellers with exclusive opportunities to taste one of a kind dishes, while standing on the cutting edge of fine dining. The current attitude of the city’s most impressive chefs is avant-garde and constructed from a rich world of sights, smells, and taste, which have influenced the city. Bruges has become a hub for expert cooks and master chefs, and the food of the city is often used to compliment the artwork and culture that the city is known for.

One particular treat you will find nowhere else is the delicacy of the Bruges’ chocolate. Belgium is of course known for making some of Europe’s most flavoursome and high quality chocolates, but even in this sea of high quality confections, Bruges’ chocolate makers stand out. This is why any exclusive guesthouse in Bruges will provide you access to some of the Bruges’ best chocolate shops, setting the mood for the perfect romantic weekend.

Of course chocolate is not the only culinary niche that Bruges has managed to occupy in its unique and Belgian manner. As evidenced by the annual Bruges Beer Festival, there are many artisanal breweries nearby that produce some of the most rich and tasty beers in all of Belgium. There are all sorts of beers to choose from in Bruges including pale lagers, lambic beers, and Flemish reds.  Like the Flemish artwork, the enchanting architecture, the delicious food, and the divine chocolate, beers of Bruges are part of the patch work that makes this enchanting European city worth a visit.


















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