The town hall of Bruges is one of the oldest in the Low Countries and stood example for several town halls that were erected in other towns afterwards.
The building was completed in 1421 but enlarged and adapted to the needs in the centuries that followed. The facade is richely decorated with gothic windows, towers, statues and the coat of arms of subordinate towns. Inside you should not miss the impressively decorated gothic room. There is also a museum on the ground floor.
The 14th Century Town Hall, with its long, elaborate windows, statues and octagonal turrets, was built in a splendid and dizzying Gothic style. It replaced the 9th century castle of Baldwin I, count of Flanders.
The name Bruges is probably derived from the old-Scandinavian word 'Brygga', which means 'harbor, or mooring place'.
Bruges Town Hall, built between 1376 and 1420 is one of the oldest in the Low Countries. A ceremonial staircase leads from the entrance hall to the first floor. Here you can visit the lavishly decorated Gothic Hall. The ceiling is a swooping, vaulted stunner, while the walls are painted with scenes relating the history of the city. The gorgeous, lavishly decorated walls of the Gothic Hall really stand out. The "Gothic Hall" is actually not gothic but neo-gothic. After a fire turned the interior largely to rubble, it had to be refurbished. That project started in 1890 and was finished in 1905. The result is stunning with a massive decorative mantelpiece, a double polychrome pending wooden ceiling, wall paintings depicting historic events from the history of Bruges and large number of other decorative elements.
The building is beautiful, both outside and inside. There is a free exhibition on the ground floor, but an entrance to see the fabulous hall and the museum upstairs.
A must stop if you are site seeing and want to take in the beautiful architecture.
Also, this level of the building contains a small museum chamber with some paintings, carved stonework, and old maps. The entrance to this room is opposite of the large windows, on the right side of the stairs.
The facade is adorned with a large number of statues depicting biblical figures and rules of Flanders. These statues are not the original ones; those were destroyed in 1792 during the French occupation at the end of the 18th century. Once the occupation was over, new statues were carved but due to an inferior quality of the materials, they soon had to be replaced. It eventually took till the 80's of the last century before all statues were renewed. The facade also shows the coat of arms of subordinate towns. Those coat of arms were also removed during the French occupation and replaced afterwards.