The soaring 400-foot (122-meter) spire-topped brick steeple of the Church of Our Lady – the city’s tallest structure – lends itself to commanding views of Bruges. The spire dominates the Bruges skyline and can be seen from all over the city, while from inside the tower, on a clear day, you can see across Belgium as far as the Netherlands.
The church was built over two centuries (13th-15th) and houses a substantial collection of artworks. The most celebrated of the church’s art collection is a white marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child, created by Michaelangelo in the early 16th century – it is one of the very few Michaelangelo pieces that can be seen outside of Italy. The Church of Our Lady also holds an oil painting depiction of the crucifixion by the Flemish Baroque artist Anthony van Dyck, and a rococo pulpit by Bruges artist Jan Antoon Garemijn.
Behind the altar, in the choir space, you will find the twin gilded bronze tomb sculptures of the duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold and his daughter, Mary of Burgundy. A windowpane underneath the tombs offers a view of the 13th- and 14th-century graves of priests.
The church is centrally located, close to the Memling Museum, and is open to visitors for limited hours, seven days a week. There is a small fee to enter and see the tombs and artworks.