The Grand-Place is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Construction on it began in the 15th century; first of all, some market halls, trade guild houses, and a town hall to establish the authority of this trading centre. Bombarded for 3 days by the French army in 1695, it was almost completely destroyed but, like a phoenix, it went on to rise from the ashes in less than 5 years. That’s why four styles stand alongside each other or sometimes even overlap; it’s a wonderful hotch-potch of Gothic, opulent baroque, neoclassical and neogothic. The tower is more or less 96 meters tall.

History of the Grand-Place

At the Grand-Place, numerous historic events took place:

1523: the first Protestant martyrs, Hendrik Voes and Jan Van Essen, are burned by the Inquisition there
1568: the counts of Egmont and Hoorn are beheaded there
August 1695: during the War of the League of Augsbourg, most of the houses on the Grand-Place were destroyed during a bombardment of the City by the French troops of marshal De Villeroy. Only the facade and the tower of the City Hall, which were the target, and some stone walls resisted the flaming canon balls. The houses surrounding the square were quickly reconstructed, in stone this time, by the various guilds. Among these, the house of the Brewers guild which shelters the Brewers Museum today.

Practical information

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