Picture: Schellemill at the Damse Vaart in Damme.  

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Bruges Gate
Farm Saint Christopher
Farm the "Stamper"
House Saint John
Damme town hall
Saint-John's hospital
Medieval waterwell
Lock of the Lieve
Statue J.Van Maerlant
Damme town walls
Our Ladies Church
NR Damme town walls
Damse Vaart
Bat reserve
Damme book village
Museum St-John's hospital
Museum town hall
Museum Schellemill

Damme town hall

Damme town hall

Location: Markt, 8340 Damme
Accessibility: yes via the Tourist Office

When you' re on the Market square of Damme, you can't miss the town hall.  This building was initially constructed in 1241 and was rebuilt in 1464.  That first building from 1242 was in fact a trade hall that was also used as town hall.  Count Thomas de Savoie and countess Joanna from Constantinopel gave permission to the town to build this hall.  The present town hall was built in 1464 on the place where the hall stood before.  That hall was believed to be about twice as large as the present-day town hall.

At the frontside there are 6 niche statues that represent persons that were important in the history of the town: Filips of the Alsace, Johanna of Constantinopel, Margareta of Constantinopel, Phillips de Thiette, Charles (the Temerary) and Margareta of York.  

On the upper floor are the Vierschaere (hall of justice) and the magistrates' room.  Below are the halls where goods used to be stored.  These halls have beautiful arches.  The interior is more than worth a visit.  You can find here a lot of original 15th century pieces such as: the wooden entry door, a gothic chimney in the magistrates' room, balks, the floor, a wooden gothic wallbench,... but also other more recent antique pieces.  Next to all that also medieval weapons are displayed like morgensterns, hand- and crossbows and more of that stuff.

The building is crowned with a nice little tower in which a carillon with 25 bells is placed, a sun-dial and a timepiece from 1459 (the oldest towerwatch in Belgium?).  Indeed: a watch and a sun-dial!  Maybee our ancestors didn't want to loose track of time?  Damme already had a towerwatch in 1392!   The two oldest bells from Flanders can also be found in the town hall, namely: the "Zegeklok" (Bells of Victory) from 1398 and the "klok der Neringen" (Bells of Trade) from 1392.  These bells still hung in the town hall's tower until the last restoration (1978-82).  

Outside, on the rightcorner there are still 2 stones of justice.  These stones had to be carried by convicted women as a matter of penitence.  Only the women?  What about the men?  They were probably tied to the pillory.  This pole has dissapeared in the meantime and stood besides the town hall.  

On the marketsquare in front of the town hall we can see a statue of Jacob van Maerlant and a medieval waterwell.

The town hall can be visited from 01/07 till 31/08 from 10 till 12 h and from 14 till 18 h or by appointment at the Tourism Office (Huyse de Grote Sterre).  Regularly exhibitions are organised in the town hall; there is besides a permanent exhibition on the history of Damme. 

 Den Hoorn








Hendrik De Leyn - www.damme-online.com

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