Ypres, Belgium

Ypres is surrounded by Ypres Salient battlefields, where many cemeteries, memorials and war museums honour the German-Allied battles that unfolded in this area during World War I. After the war, most of the town’s important buildings were reconstructed meticulously, including the Cloth Hall and St. Martin’s Cathedral with its soaring spire.

 

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Menin Gate Memorial of the Missing
Cloth Hall and Belfry
St Martin’s Cathedral

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Market Square of Ieper with the Cloth Hall, Belfry and St Martin’s Cathedral

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Menin Gate Memorial of the Missing

 

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Dendermonde, Belgium

The town is located at the mouth of the river Dender, where it flows into the Scheldt. There is some proof that this region of the Scheldt was inhabited in prehistory. The town received its city charter in 1233 and grew quickly after that thanks to a thriving cloth industry. Several cloisters, chapels and churches, and a fortified defensive wall were built as well. A cloth hall and belfry were erected on the market square in the mid 14th century. The 16th century saw a decline in Dendermonde’s fortunes.

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Vleeshuis
Town Hall
Sint Peter and Paulus Basilica

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Palace of Justice
Palace of Justice and the River Dender
Vleeshuis

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St Alexius Beguinage

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Boy with Fish fountain behind the Town Hall
Ros Beiaard on top of Palace of Justice
Statue of Queen Astrid

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Church of Our Lady

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Wooden sculpture in the Church of Our Lady
Altar of St Nicholas in the Church of Our Lady
Black Madonna and child in the Church of Our Lady

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12th Century Roman baptismal font at the Church of Our Lady

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Waterlillies on the Donkmeer
St Gertrudis Church in Vlassenbroek
Wildflowers in Vlassenbroek

 

The Ardennes, Belgium

The Ardennes  is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges formed by the geological features of the Ardennes mountain range and the Moselle and Meuse River basins. Primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, the area stretches into Germany and France.

The trees and rivers of the Ardennes provided the underlying charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world, after England. The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy.

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Fortifications on the Citadel of Namur
St Aubin’s Cathedral of Namur viewed from the Citadel
Gates at the Citadel of Namur

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Citadel and the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame de Dinant

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Bouillon Castle
Statue of Godfroy de Bouillon, Bouillon
Fields of grain under a stormy sky
Poppy flower

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Medieval castle above La Roche-en-Ardenne

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St Nicholas Church, Durbuy
Farmhouse along the river Ourthe, Durbuy
Street view of Durbuy

 

Brussels, Belgium

The official founding of Brussels is usually situated around 979 when a fort was built on the islands of Senne, which were defended by the river and the swamps. The development of the city is marked by 3 big periods. The first one is situated between the 11th and the first half of the 12th century, the second one between the 13th and the 14th century and the last one between the 17th and the 18th century.

Since the end of the Second World War, Brussels has been a major centre for international politics and has become the home of numerous international organizations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, the secretariat of the Benelux and the headquarters of NATO.

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Town Hall
Town Hall
The King’s Palace or Breadhouse

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Guildhouses on the Grand Place

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The Residence of the Dukes of Brabant

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The Swan on the facade of the Guild of Butchers
St Michael statue on top of the Town Hall
Golden horseman on top of the Brewer’s House
Dancing golden figure on top of the Guild of Bakers
Winged angel statue in the Mont des Arts area
Statue on top of The Golden Boat, Guild of the Tailors

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The Milkmaid near the Sint Nicholas Church
Manneken Pis
The Blind Leading the Blind in the Rue de Buerre

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Royal Palace

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Mont des Arts looking towards the Grand Place

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Historical houses along the Hofberg
Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula
Old England, Hofberg

 

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges became important due to the Golden Inlet, a tidal inlet to the coast that was important to local commerce. Since about 1050, gradual silting had caused the city to lose its direct access to the sea. A storm in 1134, however, re-established this access, through the creation of a natural channel at the Zwin.

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Bruges always had a strategic  location but when the old system of fairs broke down the entrepreneurs of Bruges innovated. They developed, or borrowed from Italy, new forms of merchant capitalism, whereby several merchants would share the risks and profits and pool their knowledge of markets. They employed new forms of economic exchange, including bills of exchange (i.e. promissory notes) and letters of credit. The city eagerly welcomed foreign traders, most notably the Portuguese traders selling pepper and other spices. In 1277, the first merchant fleet from Genoa appeared in the port of Bruges, first of the merchant colony that made Bruges the main link to the trade of the Mediterranean. This development opened not only the trade in spices from the Levant, but also advanced commercial and financial techniques and a flood of capital that soon took over the banking of Bruges. The Bourse opened in 1309, most likely the first stock exchange in the world, and developed into the most sophisticated money market of the Low Countries in the 14th century. Starting around 1500, the Zwin channel, the Golden Inlet, which had given the city its prosperity, also started silting and the Golden Era had ended.

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Provincial Palace, Markt
Statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, Markt
Belfry viewed from the Markt

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Statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, Markt

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Gate of The Palace of the Liberty of Bruges viewed from the Blinde Ezelstraat
Belfry viewed from the Dijver
Golden statues on The Palace of the Liberty of Bruges

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Statue on the Johannes Nepomucenusbridge
Emblem of the old fish market, Vismarkt
Mother and child statue near Walplein
Column topped by a pair of lions, Huidevettersplein
Mural on the Huidevetters House, Huidevettersplein
Mural on a house of the Rozenhoedkaai

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The Minnewater
Women in medieval clothing along the Minnewater
The Poertoren
Minnewater Bridge

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Main entrance to the Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde viewed from Wijngaardplein
House and courtyard of Begijnhof Ten Wijngaerde
Main entrancegate to the Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde viewed from Wijngaardplein
Main entrance to the Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde
House and courtyard of Begijnhof Ten Wijngaerde

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St John’s Hospital and Church of Our Lady
Statue of the painter Jan Van Eyck, Jan van Eyckplein
Poortersloge, Jan van Eyckplein

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Murals and scupltures in the streets of Bruges
Brugs Beertje, Poortersloge
Coat of Arms of Bruges
Mother and child statue
Crest, Academiestraat
City Shield, Old Tollhouse
Female bust

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Religious ornamental statues throughout the streets of Bruges

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The Four Horsemen of the Acopalypse by  Rik Poot in the Arentshof

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Gate to the Gruuthuuse and the Church of Our Lady of Bruges
Cavalry of the Church of Our Lady of Bruges
Tower of the Church of Our Lady of Bruges

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Wooden house of the Bourgoensch Hof
Belfry viewed from the Dijver
Huidevettershuis along the Dijver

 

Ghent, Belgium

Archaeological evidence shows human presence in the region of the confluence of Scheldt and Leie going back as far as the Stone Age and the Iron Age. Around 650, Saint Amand founded two abbeys in Ghent: St. Peter’s (Blandinium) and St Bavo’s Abbey. The city grew from several nuclei, the abbeys and a commercial centre. Within the protection of the County of Flanders, the city flourished from the 11th century, growing to become a small city-state. By the 13th century, Ghent was the biggest city in Europe north of the Alps after Paris. The belfry and the towers of the Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas’ Church are just a few examples of the skyline of the period.

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Belfry Tower
Belfry Tower and the Spring of the Bereaved sculpture
Cloth Hall and Belfry Tower

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House in Ghent’s city centre
Belfry Tower
Ghent’s City Theater

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St Nicholas Church

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Graslei

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The Guildhall of the Free Boatmen, Graslei
Golden Dragon, Belfry
Mammelokker Statue, Cloth Hall
Statue on the Belfry
Lion statue, Veerleplein
Van Eyck Brothers Statue, St Bavo Cathedral

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Gravensteen, the Castle of the Counts

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Houses of the St Elisabeth Beguinage and tower of the St Elizabeth Church
Statue of a young girl
Houses of the St Elisabeth beguinage in the Holy Corner

Antwerp, Belgium

The River Scheldt links Antwerp to the North Sea by the Westerschelde estuary. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally. Antwerp has long been an important city in the Low Countries, both economically and culturally, especially before the Spanish Fury (1576) in the Dutch Revolt.

 

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Cathedral of Our Lady and Rubens statue viewed from Groenplaats

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Cathedral of Our Lady viewed from Handschoenmarkt and Groenplaats

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City hall of Antwerp on the Grote Markt

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Main façade of the City Hall of Antwerp
Cathedral of Our Lady viewed from the Grote Markt
Carolus Barromeus Church

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Brabo Statue and Guild houses along the Market Square

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Golden statues on top of the Guildhouses along the Grote Markt

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Rubens House Museum
Portrait of a Woman (Helena Fourment), Jan Boeckhorst, c 1630
Portrait of Elisabeth of France (Isabella Queen of France), Frans Pourbus the Younger, c 1612
Selfportrait, Peter Paul Rubens
A Lady at the Fish Market in Antwerp, Adriaen van Utrecht and Marten Peppijn
A child’s head (Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens), Peter Paul Rubens
Adam and Even, Peter Paul Rubens

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Details in the city streets
Mother and child statue
Mother and child on the Grote Markt and Wisselstraat corner
Mother and child statue
Relief of lovers in a boat in the Braderijstraat
Portico statue in the Rubens House
Mother and child statue

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Het Steen

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War Memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII
Lange Wapper statue near Het Steen
Detail of sculpture on Suikerrui 11
Pieter Applemans Monument near Cathedral of Our Lady
Rubens monument on the Groenplaats
Portico statue at the Rubens House