Several events can take place in the town hall: it can be used for parties, discussions, emotional events, informative meetings, but above all, it is a town hall with a rich history. Victor Hugo once wrote: “In this magical building, there is no detail that is not worth looking at.”
Since 1538, the statue of Hanske de Krijger stands on top of the town hall’s tower and he overlooks the Flemish Ardennes. The copper statue was created by a famous local silversmith, Willem Blansterins.
The construction of the town hall started in 1526 and the first stone was laid by the governor, Philips de Lalaing. The building was designed by Hendrik Van Pede in the beautiful Brabant Gothic style. The building of the town hall was completed in a relatively short period of time and therefore this has contributed to its aesthetic harmony. The clear proportions and the unequalled monumentality exhibit the importance of the building.
The belfry is the central tower in the main building of the town hall. December first, 1999, the belfry of Oudenaarde, 23 other Flemish belfries and 6 Walloon belfries were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The town hall has been renovated several times since it was built. The last renovation started in 1956 and the building was delivered a couple of years ago.
The ground floor of the town hall was divided into several rooms for material, fiscal and trade purposes: the Corn House, Cale or Waag (Weighouse) and the lower Cloth Hall.
The People’s Hall, which takes up the entire first floor, was used for great receptions, parties, diners and entertainment. This hall leads to a vaulted balcony.
The most important hall on this floor is the hall where the city council resides, the Aldermen’s Hall. You enter this room through a monument enclosed portal, which was created by the local sculptor Pauwel Van Der Schelden in 1533-1536. Several important paintings can be admired in the Aldermen’s Hall, amongst others ‘Panorama of Oudenaarde’ by I.D. Maire. You can also admire the paintings of important figures who once played a role in our history and whose lives were immortalized.
In March 2012, the MOU was opened. This is the Museum of Oudenaarde and the Flemish Ardennes. This museum is located in the town hall of Oudenaarde and it takes up its eldest part, i.e. the 14th century Cloth Hall, symbol of Oudenaarde’s glorious textile past.
If you want to admire more beautiful historical objects, you can visit the Upper Cloth Hall, which houses the 15 original tapestries of Oudenaarde or the three other halls, which houses the collection De Boever-Alligoridès, one of the biggest silver collections in Flanders.