Damme

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  • 1. Marktplein

    Jacob van Maerlant’s statue stands tall and poetic in the center of Damme's market square. On the facade of the Gothic Stadhuis (Town Hall) you can see Charles, the noble duke, presenting the wedding ring to his fiancée Margaret, plus other stone effigies of Flemish counts set in niches between the high windows. The step-gabled building’s interior moldings and clock tower are especially outstanding. Note the Huyse de Grote Sterre, a 15th-century patrician’s residence that was also home to the Spanish military governor in the 17th century; it’s now the tourist office and a literary museum.

    Marktplein, Damme, Flanders, 8340, Belgium
  • 2. Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Hemelvaartkerk

    On a clear day you can see as far as the Netherlands by climbing the 206 steps to the top of the tower of the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady), which was founded in 1225 and rises high above the surrounding farmland as a symbol of Damme’s proud past. Poet Jacob van Maerlant, who lived and worked in Damme during the late 13th century, is buried under the main portal below the tower. Charles the Bold and Margaret of York were married here.

    Kerkstraat z/n, Damme, Flanders, 8340, Belgium

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Church: free; tower: €3, Tower closed Oct.–Mar.
  • 3. Oostkerke

    Around 4 km (2½ miles) north from Damme, Oostkerke has to be one of the cutest villages in Flanders. Every house in the tiny hamlet is white-washed, and at the center stands the imposing bulk of the Sint-Quintinuskerk, founded around 1100. Also nearby is a 19th-century mill and a 14th-century castle, albeit the former is in a poor state of repair, and the latter is now a private residence and closed to visitors. If you're in need of refreshment, Eetcafé De Knotwilg (www.deknotwilgoostkerke.be; closed Tuesday and Wednesday) serves simple snacks and full meals.

    Oostkerke, Damme, Flanders, 8340, Belgium
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