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Town hall in DAMME

Town hall DAMME picture
Picture by Johan Mares (@Belgiumview)

Town hall DAMME picture: Town hall DAMME picture: Town hall DAMME picture: Town hall DAMME picture: Town hall DAMME picture: Town hall DAMME picture:
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This high gothic city hall was built between 1464-1467,after the economic bloom was over. The new town hall was than smaller as its predecessor, and many subparts of the demollished town hall were recycled.

The ground floor was used as a halle. The real seat of townadministration, with administration and the court of justice can be reached via a double landing stairs that comes out onto a overspanned landing, that has been completely reconstructed in 1859-1860.

The nature stone fassade was built out of (Gobertangerstone for the groundfloor and of Balegemstone for the upperfloors). It was worked out neatly withgargouilles, guerite towers, a pointed roof with crockets and statues by G. Pickery in tabernacles under baldachins.

The ridgeturret on the saleback roof (belltower)belongs to the original project. This was changed in 1642-1643 . On the roofturret there is a sun calendar, a clockwork and a carillon. The carillon with 25 bells was melted in 1961. The old towerbells from the end of the 14th century are now positioned as a four shears.

The sober sidewalls are made of bricks, and end into stepped gables.

Over the years little changed on this building..

Goele Brouckaert sent us following interseting text:
'On the marketplace of Damme you cannot look aside the town hall. In 1241 count Thomas of Savoie and countess Joanna of Constantinopel permission to build a hall that also was used as city hall. In 1464 this was so wasted that it was decided to build a new town hall. It was the Brussels architect Godevaert de Bosschere who designed the town hall in Brabantse style. It is still the actual town hall and it was built there where stood the old hall. This hall was about twice as large as the actual town hall. Such as in 1241 the new town hall had double function: above there was the Vierschaere (where justice was spoken) and the councilhall, downstairs the hallrooms (where good used to be stored). These hallrooms had beautiful arched spans. There are still many elements of the 15th century such as: the wooden entrancedoor, a gothic chemny in the councilhall,beams , the floor, a gothic wooden wallsofa...but naturaly also antique peices of later periods. There are also weapons to be seen such as good day-,crossbow- and handbowa and more of that . The groundplan is a onregular rectangle of 27,35 meter (front) and 30,70 meter (back). The left front is 15,30 meter long and the right 15,65. The front is made of Brabant chalkstone. The city hall is made of gothic style. The statues represent following, from left to right, earl Philip of Elsas, counteses Johanna and Margareth of Constantinople, eral Philip of Thiette,count of Bourgondy Charles the Ugly and his wife Margareth of York (married in damme in 1468). The building is crowned with a beautiful tower wherein there is a carillon with 25 bells, a sun calendar and a clock from 1459,probably the oldest of Belgium. Damme had the oldest carillon in 1392! The two oldeste bells of Flanders are located in the city hall, namely : the victorybell (1398) and the bell of Neringen (1392). Before the last restauration(1978-1982) the bell hanged in the tower of the city hall. On the outside on the rightcorner there are also two justice stones. Those stones were to be carried by the sentenced women as penitence. The sentenced men were exposed s.o. to public scorn . This pillory has in the meantime disappeared and used to stand near the town hall. There is still a statue of Jacob Van Maerlandt and a middleaged waterwell on the marketplace in front of the town hall. '