Museums In Bruges - Belgium Travel Guide
Artistic Heritage and Museums
This is the main museum of fine art in Bruges and includes a collection of Flemish masterpieces by Van Eyck, Memling, Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Pieter Brueghel the Younger. There is also a painting dating from about 1500 by Hieronymous Bosch called The Last Judgement which depicts the grim trials that await sinners in the afterlife. There are also modern works up to the 20 th century including works by Ren é Magritte and Marcel Broodthaers.
Brangwynmuseum and Lace Musem
The Brangwynmuseum and Lace Museum are housed in an 18 th century mansion called the Arentshuis. The Lace Museum on the ground floor has a collection of antique lace which illustrates the use of lace as costume decoration over the centuries. The Brangwynmuseum on the first floor is dedicated to the work of the British artist Frank Brangwyn who was born in Bruges and later returned to paint and sketch the city.
The Gruuthuse Museum is housed in a beautifully restored 15 th century palace which was originally owned by a family who sold gruut a mixture of herbs, flowers and barley used in brewing to improve the flavour of beer. The museum now contains a variety of decorative artefacts representing life in Bruges from the Middle Ages.
Diamantmuseum ( Diamond Museum )
The Diamantmuseum concentrates on the history of diamond-polishing in Bruges. In addition to diamond-polishing demonstrations you can also see a selection of tools, equipment and archival material used in an industry which was well established in Bruges long before moving to Antwerp.
The Memling Museum is housed in the chapel of the former Sint Janshospital ( St John's Hospital ) and contains some of the works donated by Hans Memling to this 15 th century hospital. Although Hans Memling was born in Germany , he lived and worked in Bruges and became strongly associated with the town.
Museum voor Volkskunde ( Municipal Folklore Museum )
The folklore museum is in the whitewashed cottages of the former almshouse of the Shoemakers' Guild. In addition to all of the artefacts on display such as domestic implements, furniture, clothes, toys and lace there are replicas of a cobbler's workshop, a hatter's workshop and a pharmacy all of which help to re-create the lives of ordinary 19 th century people and craftsmen. The museum also incorporates its own bar called De Zwarte Kat (the Black Cat) which was set up in 1894 by a local social and cultural society to emulate the Parisian cabaret bar called Le Chat Noir (the Black Cat).
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk ( Church of Our Lady )
The brick 122m (395ft) spire of the 13 th – 15 th century Church of Our Lady dominates the Bruges skyline even more than the Belfry in the Markt. It is said to be the world's highest brick tower. However, even with its impressive soaring tower it is inside the church where the true glories are to be found. In amongst the ornate decoration is the Madonna and Child – a white marble sculpture by Michelangelo which is one of only a few that can be seen outside Italy . It was originally created for the cathedral of Siena in 1504-5 but there was no money to pay for it. So in 1506 it was bought by a wealthy Bruges merchant who donated it to the Church of Our Lady . In the 15 th century the Church of Our Lady was the royal chapel of the Dukes of Burgundy and so it is here in the chancel that you can see the magnificent tombs side by side of Mary of Burgundy and her father Charles the Bold.
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