Bruges City Hall (Stadhuis van Brugge) is Belgium’s oldest building and arguably Bruges’ most beautiful. Constructed between 1376 and 1420, the flamboyant, Gothic-style building was one of the first grand town halls in the Low Countries. The city has been governed from this building for more than 700 years.
A popular stop on Bruges city tours, the Stadhuis has a noteworthy exterior featuring Gothic windows, with statues of biblical figures and counts of Flanders nestled in the facade (these are 20th-century replacements of van Eyck originals, which were destroyed by pro-French rebels in the 1790s). The interior’s oak ceiling, which dates from 1402, is decorated with scenes from the New Testament.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Stadhuis is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in history, art, or architecture.
- Free audio guides are available in five languages for a more in-depth experience.
- City hall is wheelchair-accessible, and the cobblestones out front on Burg Square are flat.
How to Get There
The Stadhuis is situated on Burg Square, the historic heart and town center of Bruges, a 3-minute stroll from Markt Square. It’s about a 20-minute walk or a 15-minute bus ride from the main railway station. Buses 2, 7, and 25 stop here.
When to Get There
A year-round attraction, the Stadhuis is open daily from 9:30am to 5pm, except on Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. The last admission is at 4:30pm, but it’s good to get there a bit earlier to ensure that you have plenty of time to explore the interiors.
The Gothic Hall
At the turn of the 20th century, a pair of local architects began restored the interior of the town hall, combining two chambers to create the Gothic Hall. Today the exquisite hall is decorated with a number of murals depicting scenes from the New Testament and the life of saints, as well as paintings of historic moments in Bruges history by Belgian artist Albrecht Frans Lieven De Vriendt. The richly decorated vaulted ceiling is not to be missed.