Hondschoote and its museum
Hondschoote Town Hall
Built in 1556/1558, in sandstone and white stone. Slightly transformed at the end of the 19th century during the restoration by the architect OUTTERS, the Town Hall presents Gothic and Renaissance elements. By removing the gatehouse dating from 1606 and piercing a central door, the architect accentuated the regularity of the façade punctuated by two rows of mullioned windows. The two rows are separated by cartridges containing coats of arms that are all related to the history of the city.
From right to left, facing the building :
- The coat of arms of Baron Coppens, last lord of Hondschoote before the French Revolution.
- The coat of arms of the Trinitarian convent. Convent installed at Hondschoote in 1204 following the promise of Gauthier, lord of the city, returning alive of the crusades.
- Provost of Saint Donat (Bruges). These religious had property all over Flanders. They sold lots of properties to the city and lost influence by the 14th century.
- The coat of arms of the city (Gauthier of Hondschoote)
- The coat of arms of the Hornes family, lords of the city from the early 15th to the mid18th century. They sold the city to Baron Coppens.
- The coat of arms of Saint Hilaire (clerck)
- The coat of arms of the Brotherhood of St Sebastian’s Archers (founded at the end of the 16th century) which ensured the security of the city.
Inside the Town Hall is the old court room with panels depicting the history of the city. In the city council meeting room hangs, among other, the painting of the Battle of Hondschoote (1793) donated to the city in 1852 by Alphonse de Lamartine, then Deputy and the portrait of Baron Coppens, husband of Marie Bart, niece of the famous corsair from Dunkerque Jean Bart. Their grandchild was married to Lamartine's sister.
On the first floor, a museum contains several paintings from the church and a series of the Nine Worthy Women. The rear of the Town Hall is, unlike the frontage, made of bricks. The illusion of seeing bottles in some places is due to the presence of the Bruges arc. This rear part is also distinguished by the presence of a tower and an onion shaped pinnacle covered with slate.
Place du Général de Gaulle.
Visit on reservation.