The Ghent City Museum (STAM) exposes the city history. With respect to the collection that is shown, the history of this museum goes back to 1833, the year in which the Oudheidkundig Museum van de Bijloke in Ghent was founded. In 1928 the museum was situated in the Bijloke abbey - this led to the name Bijlokemuseum.
With the Bijloke collection as base and the Bijloke abbey and Bijloke monastery as buildings, the STAM functions as a modern-day heritage forum. Parts from other collections were added to the Bijloke collection. In connection to the historical buildings a new entrance building was constructed, designed by Ghent's city architect Koen Van Nieuwenhuyse.
The main circuit of the Ghent City Museum serves as a museal and multimedial introduction to a visit to the city of Ghent. The past of the town is illustrated, but also today's life and the future are discussed. The temporary STAM collections describe the phenomenon of 'urbanity' by means of contemporary issues. STAM refers the visitor to the city itself and to Ghent's cultural heritage.
Eyecatching parts of the museum are the sky picture of Ghent (300 m² large) on which the visitors can walk around, and software with which Ghent can be viewed in detail and over the course of four centuries. In the Bijloke abbey that can be accessed through a passerelle in glass, the history of the city is told by means of three hundred objects. Views on Ghent is another multimedial application: a screen shows a city view from the year 1534, floor-plans from 1614 and 1912 and a sky picture from the present. There is also a room for temporary exhibitions.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.