Picture: rural Vivenkapelle.     

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Neogothic complex
Church of Vivenkapelle

The horse of Viven


Pearl of neogothic architecture

The village of Vivenkapelle is a part of the town of Damme since 1 January 1977, before that it was a quarter of Sint-Kruis (part of Bruges).  The most famous inhabitant of Vivenkapelle is without any doubt the bronze horse of Viven, a masterpiece from the hand of the artist Jef Claerhout.  It was inaugurated in 1977.  Worth seeing in the village are the neogothic complex, the historical farm "de Vierschare", the protected centre and of course the bronze horse.

Fixed events
The old rural feast mid August, village fair in September.


The name Vyve is first recorded in 1240.  In 1350, the lord of Viven was granted permission by the pope (Clemens VI) to build a chapel.  Some 10 years after that, the village became independent from the magistrates and the administration of justice of Bruges.  In 1355, a "Vierschaere" or courtroom was mentionned for the first time.

After a pillage by the Geuzen (protestant religious warriors),  the chapel was rebuilt in 1635.  In 1797, the chapel was again destroyed, this time by latitudinarians coming from Bruges.  The chapel was then bought by the family Verhulst in 1827, who rebuilt it and founded 2 schools on the premises.  The depicted weapon in the left uppercorner for that matter, is the weapon of the family Verhulst.  The present church was consecrated in 1867.

Vivenkapelle's neo-gothic complex is (just as the village itself) a protected monument and consists of a church, a friary, a convent for sisters and a presbytery.  Only 2 of such neo-gothic complexes exist in Belgium (click here for more details).  Besides this, a few very beatiful old farms ornament the village.  In the direction of Moerkerke, at a few 100 meters from the church, still lies the (partially surrounded by a ditch) house of the family Verhulst.  In front of it stands the small chapel of St.-Joseph from 1870.

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