Set back from a main street in a small park behind a medieval gate, the Groeningemuseum is one of the finest art museums in the country. It holds a collection that covers around 600 years of Flemish and Belgian painting, from the 14th through the 20th century, with 11 rooms arranged in chronological order.
The Groeningemuseum is often overlooked by visitors to Bruges, which is a shame given that it houses works by some of the most revered artists in European history. Here you’ll find pieces by artists the likes of Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, and Hugo van der Goes, along with Hieronymus Bosch’s The Last Judgement. The museum is also home to many pieces by Gerard David, including The Judgment of Cambyses, which depicts the corrupt Persian judge Sisamnes being flayed alive.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Groeningemuseum is a must-visit for art lovers.
- The entrance fee includes admission to the neighboring Arentshuis, an 18th-century mansion that houses the work of the Belgian-British artist Frank Brangwyn.
- An English audio guide is available, and there is detailed information in four languages in each room.
- The museum is fully wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The Groeningemuseum is situated in the heart of Bruges, just east of the Bonifacius Bridge. It’s close to the canalside flea market, about a 6-minute walk from both the Markt and the Burg. Many local buses stop nearby.
When to Get There
The Groeningemuseum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30am to 5pm, except on Christmas and New Year's Day. Special events and lectures are held here throughout the year, but they are often conducted in Dutch. Unlike many European art museums, the Groeningemuseum does not suffer from large crowds, even in the peak summer tourist season.
Jan van Eyck’s Madonna with Canon Van der Paele
One of the most famous pieces in the museum is Jan van Eyck’s Madonna with Canon Van der Paele. Completed in 1436, this piece is celebrated for its fine detailing and the use of multiple layers of oil and varnish to achieve texture and depth. It’s considered one of the 15th-century Flemish master’s most ambitious works.