The St. Alex beguinage (1288) consists of 61 houses built around a trapezoidal courtyard surrounding a small church. The beguinage is an island of tranquillity in the heart of town.
Similarly to the Belfry, the St. Alex beguinage has been proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage in 1998. To keep the memory of the beguines alive, one small house (nr.11 H. Bonifacius) has been furnished as an authentic beguine's home.
In 1975 the last beguine, Miss Ernestine De Bruyne, died. Her former home (nr. 25 H. Begga) holds a museum of folklore. Spread over three floors and a great many rooms, visitors will learn about housekeeping, work and recreation in the lives of former generations.
House nr. 20 disposes of a detailed historical documentation centre with a specialized library, photographs and slides concerning Dendermonde.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.