Furnes/Veurne, postcard from the past.
Veurne is the ideal destination for people interested in history, art and culture. Little damaged during the war, it still possesses a magnificent architectural heritage. The famous surrealist painter Paul Delvaux lived in Veurne for more than 20 years and died there.
Founded around 870 by Baldwin I Iron-Arm (or Ferreus), first ruler of Flanders, Veurne was an important town of the Spanish Netherlands. It was often besieged in the 17th century. During World War I, it was the centre of the part of Belgium that stayed inoccupied by the Germans.
The Renaissance-style Market Square is dominated by the Belfry, which combines late Gothic, Renaissance and baroque elements. It is a UNESCO monument. The old Town Hall, known as Spanish Pavilion, is another beautiful building. Actually, all the buildings bordering the square are spectacular. The Grote Mark is one of the most beautiful squares in Belgium.
The town hall houses the Free Fatherland Discovery Center. This museum recounts how the city avoided German invasion during WWI.
It is not focused on the battlefield of the Great War but shows some behind the scenes such as the health improvement. Marie Curie worked there at that time. Many hospitals were set up.
There is also a Commonwealth cemetery nearby the city.
The Church of St. Walburga has tall stone interior columns and stained-glass windows and is surrounded by the beautiful Sint-Walburgapark full of sculptures.
There is an interesting bakkery museum where you can learn how to make your own bread.
Veurne is also well-known for the Boeteprocessie, a Penitents’ Procession taking place on every last Sunday of July. It recreates the Passion of Jesus.