BRUGES (Brugge)
 

  Picture: Jan Van Eyckplein  


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Van Eyck square (Van Eyckplein)

General. Although this square is close to the Grote Markt, it is slightly outside the traditional tourist route.  You will find it is much calmer than the Burg or Markt.  Nevertheless it is one of the nicest places in Bruges.  Here most of the port activity took place.  Ships from all corners of Europe docked here to be loaded or unloaded.  It is no surprise that all the most important nationhouses and warehouses were in the immediate vicinity.  Many ancient houses stand here in harmony together around the square. 

Brief history.  This place didn't always use to be a square.  It was created at the end of the 18th century when most harbour activity here was at its end.  The Spiegelrei (canal) used to run where the square is nowadays and was connected with the Dijver behind the Burg square.  When the canal was filled up, it made space available for the square.  It was named after the famous artist Jan van Eyck, for whom a statue was erected.

PoorterslogeThe Poortersloge is the most remarkable building on the square.  It has a slender tower and its facade is adorned with several statues, under which "het beertje van de loge" (the bear of the loggia).  It was built at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th century.  More information on a separate page [click here].

TolhuisThe toll house is actually not one house but a complex of four premises dating back to the beginning of the 13th century.  Initially trade houses, they became the "Big Toll" somewhere in the beginning of the 14th century.  Here the goods that arrived in Bruges had to be weighed and cleared for taxation.  The actual toll house is the big one in natural grey stone.  The richly decorated little house to its left is the house of the "Pijnders", the porters who were in charge of (un)loading freight.  Nowadays, the house serves as provincial information desk and library.

De Rode SteenThe large house on the corner of the Spiegelrei and Genthof was called the Red Stone.  In its core it goes back to the 13th century.

Picture 1: The "Tolhuis"
Picture 2: The "Poortersloge"
Picture 3: The square with the statue of Jan van Eyck in the middle, on the background the tower of the Poortersloge and the Tolhuis on the right.

 


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