Presentation of the destination
Oudenaarde, known in French as Audenarde, is a city in northwest Belgium. Oudenaarde’s golden age took place in the Middle Ages due to its successful cloth and tapestry industry, which made it famous around the world between the 15th and 18th centuries. In the 16th century, the city’s tapestries were such an important part of the economy that over half of the population worked in the tapestry weaving industry. Oudenaarde is also famous due to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s stay in the city in 1522 for a few months, during which time he had an illegitimate daughter, Margaret of Parma. The city is full of interesting sites to visit, in particular its beautiful Town Hall. The women’s Tour of Flanders cycling race also starts from Oudenaarde each spring, while the men’s race occasionally passes through the city as well. There is also a beer festival and an outdoor music festival each summer.
Points of interests / things to see
The Oudenaarde Town Hall was built by Belgian architect Hendrik van Pede between 1526 and 1537. This beautiful Brabantine Gothic building features a belfry tower with a large crown on it that holds a large brass figure of the city’s mythical guardian Hanske de Krijger (Hans the Warrior in English). After admiring the outside of the building, enter it to find the Museum of Oudenaarde and the Flemish Ardennes, a museum dedicated to local history that has been located in the Town Hall since 2012. Learn about the history of the city, famous people who have visited it, and the natural beauty of the Flemish Ardennes while exploring the museum’s many collections that focus on themes such as nature, heritage, gastronomy, and folklore. One of the museum’s most fascinating collections is found in Cloth Hall, which is covered in expertly woven tapestries depicting landscapes. You can learn all about the city’s famous tapestry weaving industry that started in the late 14th century. There is also a large silver collection featuring artifacts created in Oudenaarde, as well as informative displays on European silversmithing.Location: Markt 1, OudenaardeHours: Tues through Sun 10:00 to 17:30 (March through September), Tues through Fri 10:00 to 17:00 and Weekends 14:00 to 17:00 (October through February)Admission: Adults €6, Seniors (55+) €5, Students and children (12-18) €1.50, Children under 12 freeWebsite: http://www.mou-oudenaarde.be/index-E.html
If you enjoy cycling, then be sure to stop by the Tour of Flanders Centre, known as Centrum Ronde van Vlaanderen in Flemish. Inside its museum, you can learn all about the Tour of Flanders, a yearly road cycling race held each year in the Flanders area of Belgium. The race was founded in 1913 and is held each spring. Experience the Tour of Flanders in this interactive museum where you can even try climbing the Tour’s hills on a bike yourself. The centre is also home to the De Flandrien brasserie, which is filled with delicious foods and drinks from the area, including tasty Koppenberg ice cream treats. You can enjoy your meal in the sunshine on the terrace or surrounded by memorabilia like old cycling jerseys and photos inside. There is also a shop full of books on cycling and a large collection of retro cycling jerseys for the true fan. Cyclists can also get information and maps for cycling routes throughout the Flemish Ardennes. Many routes start and end at the centre, where you can then have a shower and relax with a drink in the brasserie. Three color-coded Tour of Flanders cycling routes are signposted throughout the area, as well as 18 other routes that are shorter and easier. Location: Markt 43, OudenaardeHours: Tues through Sun from 10:00 to 18:00, closed the second, third, and fourth weeks of JanuaryAdmission: Adults €8, Seniors (60+) €6, Students and children (under 15) €4Website: http://www.crvv.be/en/295-home
A short drive north from Oudenaarde will take you to Ghent, home of Saint Bavo Cathedral, known as Sint Bafskathedraal in Flemish. Its construction was based on the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, and also contains elements of Romanesque and Gothic architecture due to expansions of the church throughout its history. It is an important local church, and was the site of the baptism of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Visitors will be captivated by the fascinating architecture, as well as the cathedral’s four organs, two of which reside in the the crypt. However, the most famous part of the cathedral is the Ghent Altarpiece, also known as “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”. It is considered one of the greatest Belgian artistic masterpieces, and is composed of 12 painted panels that were created by artists Hubert and Jan van Eyck. The altarpiece resides in a special chapel with slightly different opening hours to the cathedral, so be sure to time your visit so you don’t miss it. There’s also plenty more to see inside the cathedral, including a famous painting by Peter Paul Rubens entitled “Saint Bavo Enters the Convent at Ghent”.Location: Sint-Baafsplein, Ghent (approximately 30 km north of Oudenaarde)Hours: Mon through Sat 8:30 to 18:00, Sun 9:30 to 18:00 (April through October); closes at 17:00 in winter (November through March)Admission: €4 (includes audio guide)Website: http://www.sintbaafskathedraal.be/
It is definitely worth a visit to Ghent’s Museum of Fine Arts if you are an art lover. This museum’s permanent collection contains nearly 100 famous masterpieces. “Saint Jerome in Prayer” is a fascinating early work by Hieronymous Bosch that can be found in the museum. One of the famous Expressionist pieces is “Villa in Dresden” by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner that combines bright colors and bits of unpainted canvas to interesting visual effect. There are also several famous Surrealist works, including the 1925 piece “Vegetation” by Max Ernst and “Perspective II. Manet’s Balcony” by Magritte, which depicts a group of coffins, including one that is humorously sitting. Beyond its masterpieces, the collection focuses on art from the Middle Ages through the mid 20th century, with a special dedication to collecting Flemish art. The collections also contain many European paintings as well as sculptures. There is also a large collection of paintings from the Netherlands in the 17th century, including works by Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens, who inspired countless painters who came after them.Location: Fernand Scribedreef 1, Citadelpark, Ghent (approximately 30 km north of Oudenaarde)Hours: Tues through Sun 10:00 to 18:00Admission: Adults €8, Seniors (65+) €6, 19-26 year-olds €2, free for those under 19Website: http://www.mskgent.be/en
Why not spend a day in the lovely summer weather exploring Parc du Cinquantenaire, a large public park in the Belgian capital, Brussels? This expansive park was originally used as military exercise grounds, but was converted into a public park with several buildings constructed on it for the 1880 National Exhibition, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence. One of its most prominent features is a large triumphal arch that was erected in 1905 which is an excellent place to take a souvenir photo. Since 1930, the area has been used as a leisure park, and in the present day it is home to three museums and a mosque. The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History contains a huge collection of military artifacts including uniforms, vehicles, equipment, and weapons, in addition to an aviation hall with fascinating aircraft on display. The Cinquantenaire Museum is an art and history museum with prehistoric artifacts and a large collection of European decorative arts that includes costumes, tapestries, furniture, sculptures, and old vehicles. The final museum in the park is AutoWorld, a vintage car museum that displays a few hundred automobiles including Bugattis and Bentleys. Park visitors can also see the Great Mosque of Brussels, the city’s oldest mosque, which contains a school and Islamic research center in addition to providing Arabic lessons.Location: Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels (approximately 60 km west of Oudenaarde)
Smisje Brewery is a famous brewery located in Oudenaarde. It is one of the smallest existing Belgian craft breweries in the world. It was first started by homebrewer Johan Brandt in 1995 in the nearby city of Bruges, before moving to Oudenaarde in 2008. The brewery offers a selection of traditional Belgian beers for visitors to taste. It is especially known for its use of distinctive ingredients such as fruits and herbs to flavor its brews. Be sure to stop by and taste some of their locally famous beers, as nearly half of their annual production is exported internationally.Location: Driesleutelstraat 1, OudenaardeWebsite; http://www.smisje.belgianbeerboard.com/
As you walk around Oudenaarde, you won’t be able to miss the distinctive tower of Saint Walburga Church. Inside the church, you can still see the choir that remains from the 12th century early-Gothic church that once stood there. Most of the building was rebuilt in the 15th century in Brabant Gothic style, which resulted in a unique mixture of Gothic architectural styles. There are also many beautiful paintings, statues, tapestries and sculptures to see inside the church. However, its most fascinating feature is its carillon, a musical instrument made of 49 bells that hang in the church tower. In July and August, you can enjoy carillon concerts on Sundays from 12:00 to 13:00 and Thursdays from 20:30 to 21:30.Location: Sint-Walburgastraat, OudenaardeHours: Open Tues, Thurs and Sat from 14:30 to 17:00 (April, May and October); Tues through Sat 14:30 to 17:00 and Sun 14:00 to 17:30 (June through September); also open 10:00 to 11:00 Thursdays
Liedts Castle is built on the former site of Oudenaarde’s military fortifications. In the 1800s, the land was purchased by the Liedts family and converted into a park. Charles Liedts then ordered the construction of a Neo-classicist style cottage on the site. In 1883, his son decided to have the cottage converted into what is now Liedts Castle, which features an interesting variety of architectural styles with many Renaissance elements. He later donated the park, castle, and many possessions including art, books, and valuables to the city of Oudenaarde. The family’s art collections are kept in the city museum in the town hall, while the park and gardens are popular public areas to this day.
Learn all about Belgium’s fascinating history at BELvue Museum in Brussels, the country’s capital. Each of its nine rooms represents a different era in Belgian history, from the colonization of Congo to the revolution of 1830. Visitors will love the immersive environment, as each room is filled with music, films and artifacts. The museum collection contains over 1500 items such as photographs and artifacts. You can also purchase a combined ticket to visit Coudenberg, a nearby archaeological site of the former Palace of Brussels which includes an interesting underground tour.Location: Place des Palais 7, Brussels (approximately 60 km west of Oudenaarde)Hours: Tues through Fri 9:30 to 17:00, also open weekends 10:00 to 18:00 (July and August only)Admission: Adults €6, Seniors €5, 18-25 year-olds €4 Website: http://www.belvue.be/en
Vacation rentals in Oudenaarde (Flanders)
How to get there ?
By plane: The nearest international airport to Oudenaarde is Brussels Airport (BRU). It is one of the busiest airports in Europe and provides flights to a number of destinations across Europe and around the world. It is located approximately 80 km from Oudenaarde. From the airport, Oudenaarde can easily be reached by car, bus or train.Website: http://www.brusselsairport.be/By train: Belgium has an extensive railway network that connects Oudenaarde to Brussels, Ghent, and a number of other Belgian and European cities. The trains are run by the National Belgian Railway Company (NMBS/SNCB). The company’s website provides an easy-to-use trip planner that details its numerous train services.Website: http://www.belgianrail.be/en/Default.aspxBy bus: Oudenaarde is also connected to many cities by public bus. Many regional bus routes are provided by the De Lijn company, which has a trip planner on its website.Website: http://www.delijn.be/index.htmBy car: Belgium has an extensive system of well-maintained roads that connect all major cities. Visitors can easily drive to Oudenaarde from any number of Belgian and European cities.Getting aroundWhile public transport is plentiful in Belgium, you can also take the opportunity to explore Oudenaarde and other Belgian cities on foot. There are also many cycling paths available for cyclists.
Oudenaarde city hall
Hotels in Oudenaarde (Flanders)