Picture: market square of Bruges
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Middelburg was built between 1452 and 1465 on instruction of Pieter Bladelin, governor of finance of Filips the Good and treasurer of the order of the Golden Fleece. There used to be (amongst other buildings) a church, a convent, a hospital, walls, a canal to the Lieve (canal Ghent-Damme) and a castle. From 1465 on, a free anual market took place. After the destruction of Dinant by Charles the Temerary, Bladelin brought several craftsmen to his new town. Due to these artisans, Middelburg was granted privileges by Edward IV, king of England, after which also a textile industry was set up. After the dead of Pieter Bladelin, his widow (Margareta de Vageviere) was allowed by Charles the Temerary to rule over the town.
In 1581, the town was attacked by the Geuzen (protestant religious fighters) and the church was burnt down. She was restored in the beginning of the 17th century. In 1617, Middelburg was uplifted to county. In 1702, the town was conquered by the Dutch, which fortified it. Not long after which, after a 2-days siege, it was taken back by the French.
During the fierce fights that took place alongside the banks of the Leopold- and Schipdonkcanal in September/October 1944, Middelburg several times was target for heavy shootings. A lot of buildings were destroyed, the church also was severely damaged. Not much is left of what used to be a town. Middelburg is now a peaceful village.
Worth seeing: church and pillory.
© Hendrik De Leyn - www.damme-online.com