Bruges Béguinage

Bruges, Belgium

The Princely Béguinage Ten Wijngaerde is the only preserved béguinage (architectural complex which formerly housed beguines, lay religious women who lived in community without taking vows or retiring from the world) in Bruges. There are no more Beguines living there, but since 1927 it functions as a convent for Benedictines, founded by canon Hoornaert. In the same year the houses at the west side were also reshaped and enlarged into the Monasterium De Wijngaard, a priory of Benedictine nuns.

Already before 1240 a community of pious women settled at the domain de Wingarde (old Dutch for vineyard), in the South of the city. This name probably refers to low-lying meadows. The béguinage was founded around 1244 by Margaret of Constatinopel, after she requested permission to Walter van Marvis, bishop of Tournai, to move over the tomb chapel on the Burg of Bruges to the Wijngaard. In 1245 it was recognised as an independent parish. In 1299 it came under direct authority of king Philip the Fair and it was entitled as 'Princely Béguinage'.

The complex includes a gothic béguinage church and about thirty white painted houses dating from the late 16th, 17th and 18th century. Practically all of these are built around a central yard. The main entrance with gate can be reached via the three-arched stone bridge, the Wijngaard Bridge. In a bay the image of the holy Elizabeth of Hungary can be seen, who was the patron of many béguinages. De Wijngaard is also devoted to Saint Alexius. The entrance gate was built in 1776 by master mason Hendrik Bultynck. The first Beguine house next to the entrance is furnished as a museum and the exhibition includes paintings, 17th and 18th century furniture and lacework, among others. A second gate gives access to the Sas House, via the Sas Bridge.

Ten Wijngaerde is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Flemish Béguinages.

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Address

Begijnhof 22, Bruges, Belgium
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Founded: 1240
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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

jean vandeuren (10 months ago)
beautiful place, of course a place you have to visit
Yo (11 months ago)
Such a mystical place, it takes you to another era!
Rebecca Clingenpeel (17 months ago)
Stumbled upon this and so happy we did. Blown away by it's beauty. Peaceful
Claudia Ciabatti (17 months ago)
Nice and quite place, close to the canal.
Barbara GP (18 months ago)
Piece of History! Nice lake where you can see the boats and the convent on the side Calm area, relaxing
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