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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dendermonde, worth visiting

My home town, Dendermonde, is certainly worth a visit. We're based in the province of East Flanders, and quite near to other cities like Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels. Also Bruges and the coast are not that far away.

Dendermonde is an old town, and archeologists think it might already have existed BC. We don't have proof of it yet, but who knows when excavations might render a pottery shard centuries old? What we know for certain is that the Romans were here. Our city had a Roman name, Teneramunda. This is because it lies where two streams flow together: Dender into Schelde. And everyone knows, where there are waterways, there were people trading.

In the middle ages, Dendermonde got its town charter by Count Robert of Flanders, in the 13th century. Btw, this Robert is actually an ancestor of mine (albeit on the wrong side of the blanket). It was a typical medieval town, with surrounding walls and a moat flowing round them. There is not much left of these walls, but two of the cities gates remain and we have parts of the old moat as well. These are now used for recreation.

                                     

During World War One, our town was bombarded by the Germans and most of the old buildings suffered from it. But later on they were restored to their full glory. Right in the middle of the town center you can find the old Cloth Hall, which is now the town hall.

                                    

A bit to the side you see the Meat Hall, which is turned into a museum where you can view the findings about the origins of the town.

                                             foto van het Vleeshuismuseum

In the 17th century, a beguinage was built and it is really a community right in the middle of a busy town. A place where you can find rest and peace. Originally inhabited by beguins (a kind of nun) and now by artists and elderly people.

                                            foto van het Sint-Alexiusbegijnhof

Also our churches are old. The Holy Mary Church is the eldest, and a mixture of styles. The foundation is Roman style, of which still rest a baptist fond of 800. I was baptized at this fond, btw. There are also great paintings in this church, the master piece a Van Dyck.

                                           foto van de Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk

For the tourist, there are guided tours organized by the Tourist Office (located in the Town Hall) and there are also cosy B&B's and a hotel.

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