The museums of Bruges are numerous and interesting, in particular the group of historical museums called Bruggemuseum. These are six museums in six different locations in historic residences and buildings in the city center.
The first is the Bruggemuseum-Archeologie, the city’s archaeological museum. The second is the Bruggemuseum-Belfort. This museum allows us to visit the clock tower, 83 meters high, from the top of which you have a wonderful view of the city. On the second floor of the tower is the treasure chamber, now a museum.
The third museum is the Bruggemuseum-Brugse Vrije. In this museum we visit the Renaissance Chamber with a monumental 16th century fireplace. The fourth museum is the Bruggemuseum-Gruuthuse. An interesting museum in a patrician house in the city, it in addition to the rooms and halls of the house presents a collection of ancient art, sculptures, furniture, silver and metal objects, ceramics, textiles, coins and musical instruments.
The fifth museum is the Bruggemuseum-Onthaalkerk O.L.V. This museum is about the Church of Our Lady, which has one of the tallest brick bell towers in Belgium (122 meters). The church has a rich collection of works of art, including Michelangelo’s famous “Madonna and Child”. The choir, the mausoleum of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold and some noble tombs are also very beautiful.
The sixth and final museum in the series is the Bruggemuseum-Stadhuis. This museum is located in the Bruges Town Hall. The town hall was built in 1376 and is one of the oldest in Flanders, inside you can admire the Gothic Room with sumptuous 19th century murals and the polychrome ceiling.
Artistic works of the XV-XXI centuries can be found in the two museums Arents House and Groeningemuseum. In particular in the Groeningemuseum the collection of Primitive Flemings is exhibited, as well as Renaissance and Baroque paintings, with masterpieces by Jan Van Eyck, Hugo van der Goes, Hans Memling and Gerard David. In the Forum + [Concertgebouw], exhibitions of contemporary art are held.
THE ANCIENT HOSPITALS
Another series of museums is that of the ancient hospitals the Hospitaalmuseums. The museum located in the ancient Sint-Jan hospital, Memling in Sint-Jan, one of the oldest hospitals in Europe, presents the opportunity to understand how a hospital worked in the Middle Ages (it was a shelter for the sick but also for the pilgrims). The museum also houses six works by Hans Memling in the hospital chapel. Another museum is the O.L.V.-ter-Potterieits. This is a historic hospital complex dated between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries. Inside there is a beautiful baroque church and rich collections of paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries and silver works.
MUSEUMS OF FOLKLORE
Another branch of the Bruges museums are those dedicated to folklore. The Koeleweimolen is a windmill for grinding wheat from 1765 that is still working. The Sint-Janshuismolen is also a windmill to grind the wheat of 1770 still functioning. While the Guido Gezelle Museum, it is the home of the Flemish writer Guido Gezelle.
Other museums in the city are: the Begijnhuisje, a museum where the life of the inhabitants of Bruges in the past is reconstructed. The Choco-Story is instead a museum dedicated to chocolate. The Diamantmuseum is the diamond museum. The Heilig-Bloedbasiliek is the basilica of the Holy Blood which contains the relic of the Holy Blood and a museum on the relic. Finally, the Lumina Domestica (lampenmuseum) is a museum dedicated to the history of lighting from the torch to the LEDs.