Belfry of Bergues

Belfry of Bergues

Whether you arrive at Bergues by the waterway or by the road, it is always at the sound of the chimes of Bergues that you will be welcomed. A symbol of the Municipal Liberties and of the city, the Belfry stands proudly in the air of Flanders facing the Town Hall. 

The third belfry built in the same place (the first was built in 1112), was rebuilt in 1961 following its destruction by fire (30 May 1940) and then by blasting (16 September 1944) by the Germans. In its broad outline, it takes up the previous belfry.

Listed as a Unesco world heritage Site since July 15, 2005, the Belfry now houses the Carillon, the Tourist Information Bureau, exhibition halls and the city's drawing and music schools. The last survivor of the three Carillon existing before the French Revolution of 1789 sounds its chimes every quarter of an hour and thus sets the tempo of everyday life of the city. Bergues and the Berguois are very attached to their carillon which had a place of honour in Dany Boon movie, "Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis" (February 2008)

Bergues Belfry’s functions : 

Over the centuries, the Bergues belfry has different functions :

  • City Gate : Presumably, the first tower also served as a gateway to the city facing Groenberg Mountain.
  • Watchtower : the belfry will keep this function until 1914. Until this date, two watchmen living in the roof, watched the city and its surroundings (enemies and fires).
  • Town hall : the burgomaster and his aldermen met on the first floor of the tower until 1586, when Philip II decided to merge the city and the castellany. The communal administration then left the belfry to integrate the Landhuys, on the other side of the square.
  • Bells Tower : Tower of the "Banklocke" (official bell of the municipality) then the bells tower, the belfry keep nowadays this function.

Belfry distinguishing features

  • Actual height : 47 metres-high.
  • Old belfry height : 54 metres-high
  • Inauguration date : July 2, 1961
  • Number of steps (terrace) : 193
  • Number of chimes bells : 50
  • Weathercock : Lion “Nicholas”
  • Materials : yellow bricks, called "sand"
  • Jingle :
    • Hour: “Reuze Lied”
    • ½: “Complaisant husband”
    • ¼: Moeder Porret (la Mère Poireau);

Free visit or guided tour are possible upon completion of the renovation works of the belfry.


beffroi-bergues (2).jpg

The belfry is currently closed for work. These works are to be done inside and outside the building.

If you want to joint this beautiful renovation project, you can participate in the subscription launched by the City of Bergues, in connection with the Heritage Foudation.