City Hall and Belfry
Oudenaarde, from city charter to cobblestone
Let’s start with the city’s vibrant heart: the market square. A welcoming place, peppered with restaurants, cafes and inviting terraces. The town hall, a delightful stroll away, is an iconic building that forms a whole with the 14th-century Cloth Hall and the 16th-century Belfry in Brabant late-Gothic style. Believe us, it pays to admire this historic set of buildings in all their glory. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that it is duly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
LOOK ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES … is the message here
There’s the ground floor with its striking colonnade and its remarkable pointed arches. The central Belfry graciously reaching out to the clouds. Sumptuously decorated frames with collars adorned with angels, mermaids and hunting scenes. The longer you look, the more you see.
But we shan’t reveal all the secrets just yet. It's up to you to uncover other mysteries and legends ... on your own voyage of discovery! Also wondering what symbolism underlies the coat of arms? The spire with its red copper statue will give you a clue. For these and many questions, the tourist office will be happy to throw open its door, or rather gate. A contemporary reception area nestled in the Gothic part of the city hall.
The famous French author Victor Hugo expressed his fascination as follows. “In this fantastic building, every detail is worth careful scrutiny”.