Béguinage (French) or begijnhof (Dutch) are collections of small buildings used by Beguines. These were various lay sisterhoods of the Roman Catholic Church, founded in the 13th century in the Low Countries, comprising religious women who sought to serve God without retiring from the world. The list includes 13 béguinages: Bruges, Dendermonde, Diest, Ghent (Klein Begijnhof, Groot Begijnhof), Hoogstraten, Kortrijk, Leuven (Groot Begijnhof), Lier, Mechelen (Groot Begijnhof), Sint-Truiden, Tongeren and Turnhout.
The Groot Begijnhof of Leuven is a well preserved beguinage and completely restored historical quarter containing a dozen streets in the south of downtown Leuven. About 3 hectares (7.5 acres) in size, with some 300 apartments in almost 100 houses, it is one of the largest remaining beguinages in the Low Countries. It stretches on both sides of the river Dijle, which splits into two canals inside the beguinage, thus forming an island. Three bridges connect the parts of the beguinage. The complete beguinage is owned by the University of Leuven and used as a campus, especially for housing academics.
(Pictures taken in 2016)
Grand Place of Brussels
The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the city’s Town Hall, and the King’s House or Breadhouse (French: Maison du Roi, Dutch: Broodhuis) building containing the Museum of the City of Brussels. The square measures 68 by 110 metres (223 by 361 ft).
The Grand Place is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It is also considered as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.
Brussels Town Hall
The Town Hall of theCity of Brussels is a Gothic building from the Middle Ages. It islocated on the famous Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, opposite theMuseum of the City of Brussels.
It is the only remaining medieval building of the Grand Place and is considered a masterpiece of civil Gothic architecture and more particularly of Brabantine Gothic.
Historic Centre of Bruges
(Pictures taken in 2006)
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country.
Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North.
Bruges has most of its medieval architecture intact, making it one of the mostwell-preserved medieval towns in Europe. The historic centre of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
The Provinciaal Hof (Province Court) is a Neogothical building on themarket place in Bruges, Belgium. It is the former meeting place forthe provincial government of West Flanders.