Damme, little gem in the Flemish Polders
Picturesque medieval town in the Flemish polders, Damme is only a few kilometers away from Bruges. As such, you can go there by car, bike, boat or on foot.
This cute little town is of big importance in history.
Side trip from Bruges, it is now known as a book town, with numerous bookshops and book fairs.
At the entrance of the city, there is a path that will lead you on th other side of the town, near the beautiful Our Ladies church of Damme.
Our Ladies church of Damme
You cannot miss the church with its flat tower. You can walk on its top and have a beautiful view of the surroundings. Bring some petty cash because there is a automatic turnstile.
The size of the church can be surprising considering the size of the town but when it was built (13th century) Damme was a very prosperous place. Church and town were much bigger than now. When the prosperity of the city declined at the beginning of the 18th century, parts of the church were dismantled. You can still see that something is missing between the church itself and the tower. The roof of the tower was also removed.
There are many treasures inside the church. The most important are the 13th century wooden statues of the apostles.
This cross is still carried during the annual Procession of the Holy Blood in Bruges.
Many altars and tombs are also present.
Do not miss the garden and nearby cemetery.
There are several interesting buildings in the town.
The Saint-John's hospital is the oldest building in Damme. It was founded before 1249. It now hosts a museum.
This is a cute little square borded with typical white houses with white and green shutters.
They used to be houses of poor people.
Farm "De Stamper"
This is a typical farm dating from the 17th century. Its peculiar roof is in mansarde. It is unique to the region.
It hosts a hotel and a restaurant.
House "de Grote Sterre" (House the Big Star)
The original names of the houses were "Sterre" (Star) and "Craeynest" (Crow's Nest). It was renamed "de Grote Sterre" in the 17th century.
Dating back to the 13th century, their present stone facades were built in the 15th and 16th century. In 1615, the house became the property of the king of Spain and the Spanish military governors resided in this house during the Spanish occupation.
After being unoccupied and almost in ruins for years (the roof collapsed in 1992), it now hosts the Office of Tourism of Damme, the Visitor's Center of the Euregio Scheldemond, the store of the Flemish Heritage Foundation (Stichting Vlaams Erfgoed) and the Uylenspieghel museum.
Huyze Sint-Jan (House Saint John)
Known for its gothic facade,this 15th century house was built for the town's bailiff.
It is famous for having been the house where the marriage between Charles the Bold and Margareth of York, future duchess of Burgundy, was consecrated by the bischop of Salisbury Richard Beauchamp.
This beautiful building was built in 1464 after permission was given by the rulers Thomas of Savoy, Count of Flanders and Joan of Constantinople, Countess of Flanders and Hainaut by heredity. They both did a lot for Bruges and Damme.
The town hall can be visited during summer.
With a bit of luck, you will spot the couple of storks who are nesting on its roof.
There are numerous restaurants in the town centre, set in beautiful houses.
Built in 1867, the Schellemolen (Schelle Windmill) is a tower mill, meaning only the brown cap turns to face the wind. The rest of the building does not move.