Things to do in Bruges, Flanders: The Best History Museums

May 17, 2022 Augustus Redeker

What could be more romantic and inspiring than a place that looks like a backdrop for a fairy tale? The medieval overtones of Bruges’ cobblestone streets lead to countless historical, architectural and artistic wonders. Marvel at ornate houses lining intricate canals, and understand why this is a favorite destination for all types of travelers. The whole city emanates an appreciation of the past, a love of the present, and enthusiasm for the future. Don’t miss Hof Bladelin, Groeninge Museum, Church of Our Lady, and Belfry and Market Halls.
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1. Folklore Museum

Balstraat 43, Bruges 8000 Belgium +32 50 44 87 11 https://bezoekers.brugge.be/en/volkskundemuseum-folklore-museum
Excellent
51%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 444 reviews

Folklore Museum

These renovated 17th century, singleroom dwellings accommodate, amongst other things, a classroom, a millinery, a pharmacy, a confectionery shop, a grocery shop and an authentic bedroom interior. You can also admire a beautiful lace collection on the upper floor. Every first and third Thursday of the month (except for public holidays), those with a sweet tooth can attend a demonstration given by the 'spekkenbakker' (sweetmaker). You can relax in the museum inn, 'De Zwarte Kat' (The Black Cat) or in the garden, where you can try out traditional folk games on the terrace.

Reviewed By Liefhebber19 - Breda, The Netherlands

Very nice visit for young and old! The museum is located in renovated workers’ houses where you will discover more about daily life in Bruges during the 19th and early 20th centuries. There is a classroom, a tailor’s workshop, a pharmacy, a confectionary and a grocery store. The top floor is reserved for temporary exhibitions. Entrancefee is € 6,00. We visited Bruges several times, this was pre Covid.

2. Groeningemuseum

Dijver 12, Bruges 8000 Belgium +32 50 44 87 11 http://www.visitbruges.be/en/groeningemuseum-groeninge-museum
Excellent
50%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1,641 reviews

Groeningemuseum

The Groeninge Museum provides a varied overview of the history of Belgian visual art, with as highlight the world-renowned Flemish primitives. In this museum you can see, amongst other masterpieces, The Virgin and Child with Canon Van der Paele by Jan van Eyck and the Moreel Triptych by Hans Memling. You will also marvel at the top 18th and 19th-century neoclassical pieces, masterpieces of Flemish Expressionism and post-war modern art.

Reviewed By Aimee_Norfolk - Norwich, United Kingdom

We spent hours in here staring at beautiful medieval Flemish art, and we could have stayed longer. Luckily the museum provides folding stools which you can help yourself to and take with you around the museum, so you can stare at the paintings in full comfort. The audio guide is also a must, and it's included in the ticket price. As well as the famous Flemish primitives such as Memling and Van Eyck (which I found mesmerising), there is artwork from many centuries right up to expressionists and cubists. Large bags and rucksacks have to be left in the cloakroom at the entrance, although lockers are provided for free.

3. Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Potterie

Potterierei 79, Bruges 8000 Belgium +32 50 44 87 11 https://bezoekers.brugge.be/en/onze-lieve-vrouw-ter-potterie-our-lady-of-the-pottery
Excellent
51%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 106 reviews

Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Potterie

The current museum is housed in the old infirmary and displays the eclectic collection accumulated by nuns down the centuries. The oldest pieces date back to the 14th century. Many miracles have been attributed to the white limestone statue of Our Lady of the Potterie in the baroque church. These are detailed in stained-glass windows, wall tapestries, and a miracle book. The 13th century statue is one of Bruges' oldest preserved statues.

Reviewed By apol225 - Oldenburg, Germany

This site is somewhat off the beaten tourist track and takes some finding when walking along the canal side. The name of this spot is a little bit misleading as it seems to referring to a pottery. As a matter of fact it’s an impressive church respectively a hospital attached to the church. All in all a very interesting place which is well worth a visit. By the way a good reason to go for a walk through this more calm but beautiful part of Bruges with its beautiful old houses.

4. Torture Museum Oude Steen

Wollestraat 29, Bruges 8000 Belgium +32 50 73 41 34 [email protected] http://torturemuseum.be/
Excellent
45%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1,416 reviews

Torture Museum Oude Steen

Torture Museum the "Old Stone" is one of the oldest prisons in Europe restored into a museum offering the visitor an impressive collection of artifacts and dramatic, life realistic wax figures which will give the visitor an unforgettable impression on a controversial system of torture where the end, Justice, justified the means.

Reviewed By ColB2 - West Sussex, United Kingdom

Fascinating, atmospheric museum and well worth a visit for many age groups. This is by no means just a ghoulish trip through history. It’s an informative journey through the centuries of how punishment has ‘evolved’ and been used. Even a little insight into the horrors of torture can open up a better understanding of certain periods in times gone by. This is particularly relevant if you’re at all interested in historical/religious texts or how to ‘read’ some paintings - especially the Renaissance period. There’s a lot of information in this museum; it’s well laid out and you can easily spend an hour or so becoming completely engrossed in all the exhibits and life-like models.

5. Sint-Janshospitaal

Mariastraat 38, Bruges 8000 Belgium +32 50 44 87 43 [email protected] https://bezoekers.brugge.be/en/sint-janshospitaal-saint-johns-hospital
Excellent
42%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
6%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.0 based on 1,324 reviews

Sint-Janshospitaal

Sint-Janshospitaal owns six masterpieces by the Flemish primitive artist Hans Memling, as well as many religious paintings and sculptures. Objects of applied art, such as furniture, silverwork, medical instruments, reliquaries, archive documents, and apothecary pots reflect 800 years of care. Sint-Janshospitaal is one of the oldest preserved hospital buildings in Europe. In the museum, you can learn more about hospital life in the past and how the wards would have looked then. Furniture, paintings, sculptures, silverware, and pewterware are the silent witnesses of the care for bodies and souls that took place in this hospital through the centuries. The building’s supporting framework is also unique and is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. The old apothecary’s and herb garden is also well worth a visit. In the hospital chapel, the focus is all on the work of the most famous of the Flemish Primitives: Hans Memling. This painter lived and worked in Bruges in the 15th century and created his most important masterpieces here, including the famous Shrine of St Ursula, which was painted specifically for Sint-Janshospitaal.

Reviewed By Bubbles73uk - Weedon Bec, United Kingdom

Visited Sint-Janshospitaal, also known as St. John's Hospital, & discovered it is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe. It actually looks a bit like a church & it functioned as a hospital from the 12th-19th centuries. Many nuns & monks worked here to help the sick with various medical instruments & modern techniques of the time. You can view these artifacts in the hospital's museum. This museum is located in the hospital's old infirmary & features ancient furniture, silverware, & medical instruments you can view. You can also look at a few paintings by Hans Memling such as the Shrine of St. Ursula. After visiting the museum, you can also look go to its herb garden & the Diksmuide attic.

6. Gezellemuseum

Rolweg 64, Bruges 8000 Belgium +32 50 44 87 43 [email protected] https://bezoekers.brugge.be/en/gezellemuseum
Excellent
13%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
39%
Poor
4%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 23 reviews

Gezellemuseum

This literary and biographical museum about the life of Guido Gezelle (1830- 1899), one of Flanders’ most famous poets, was established in the house where he was born, situated in a peaceful working-class district of the city. In addition to displays about his life and works, there are also temporary presentations about (literary) art. Next to the house there is a romantic garden, with Jan Fabre’s

7. Stedelijkmuseum

Balstraat 43, Bruges 8000 Belgium +32 50 44 87 43

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