Church of Our Lady of Brugge (Flanders - Belgium)

Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk

I did exactly the same thing, as I did when I went to meet Michelangelo's David in Florence, here too - going there first thing in the morning when it opens its doors. Plus going to see the masterpiece before everything else in the place. That ways I get to have a touristy, crowded place all by myself or atleast share with very less people.

I took off from hotel at 9:20AM and reached Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk at 9:40AM. It opens at 9:30 and still I was the first person to enter! As I guessed, Michelangelo's Madonna and Child, was the very last exhibit. I walked straight through the corridor and there I was, in front of the sculpture, all by myself! (BTW, after enjoying the rest of the place, I headed back to the sculpture and by this time there were 2-3 other people and I asked one of them to click that pic for me! Oh yeah, the bed at Hotel Prinsenhof was too cozy for Atyu & her dad to leave it at 9AM!!!)....
This was sculpted in 1505 CE. The specialty of this sculpture is that its very different from the earlier representations of Madonna & Child, which is usually Madonna looking fondly at her infant baby. Here, the baby is more of a toddler, standing and leaning on Madonna's lap and Madonna is more of a mature mom looking to leave the child to take his baby steps!!! The facial structure & expression does have similarity to Pieta in St.Peter's Basilica Vatican!




There are several paintings here, that are post Flemish Primitives, more in Baroque Art, belonging to 1600s & 1700s painted by Caravaggio, Jacob van Oost and many more. At the altar is a huge triptych depicting the Passion of Christ (Crucifixion) painted by Bernard van Orley. In front of it are the 2 ceremonial tombs of Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold.


The original structure of this church was built in 1225 CE. Bits and pieces of the original frescoes belonging to the original structure are in display within the chapels as well as below the nave (covered by glass). The best part - the ceiling detail of Madonna & Child of 1469 is still visible in one place, in an extremely deteriorated state. This was covered by several layers of plaster. In 2014 restoration works, this was brought out in all its glory (or rather what's left of it)!


The entire church was layered with one more layer of plaster filled with frescoes in 19th C CE, with Neo Gothic details on it. The present layer of white washing was done over this. The lower half of the wall has the typical 'curtain painting' which was the style of the era. A lot of gilt with gold leaf was used atop it as well.

Currently the church is under renovation and several parts of the church were not accessible. This is my account after seeing a portion of the church!


To Stay:
Hotels and B&Bs at all price points are available in Brugge City Centre.
Here’s my review of Hotel Prinsenhof where I stayed.

To Get There:
Local Transport within Bruges is possible with DeLijn buses (and horse carts!). However most sites are walkable. The city does not have metro or tram. 

Entry Ticket & Timings:
OLV Church: €6.00; 9:30AM to 5:00PM Mon to Sat; 1:30PM to 5:00PM Sun
Both are included in the Musea Brugge Card.


P.S: I was invited by Musea Brugge to experience the city and hosted by Hotel Prinsenhof for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

18 comments:

  1. I also like waking up early and beat the tourist crowds, the places have a completely different feeling at that time of the day!

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  2. Thanks for this. Some lovely photos.

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  3. Wow, knowing that you were the first person to enter the Church, seemed like really a perfect time to explore and enjoy the place while communing. I love this place, I also read your previous post regarding the sculpture and beautiful paintings before and this one is also interesting and great.

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  4. The interior of the church looks great. I especially enjoyed the majestic paintings. I have seen the pieta, and you are right, the sculpture of Madonna and Child is certainly reminiscent of it

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  5. some great advice on getting to key tourism sites early - much better for photos to get there before the crowds! it looks like they have some amazing paintings.

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  6. It's actually the best thing to do, especially in a popular touristy place such as this one - to get there first thing in the morning, right when it opens! The church looks pretty amazing and I see you managed to get superb pictures without any crowds. Well done!

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  7. Brugges looks every bit as beautiful as you had described it. I wish I could see the portraits at the Church of Our Lady of Brugges too. It is so cool that you get to take a portrait and get close to the Madonna and Child sculpture too. I would love to have that experience, as well!

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  8. Ohh yes, I so would have done exactly what you did and showed up to the Museum right at opening time just to be able to avoid the crowds of tourists! What a wonderful experience you would have had though to be able to experience and enjoy the amazing sculptures and artworks all by yourself.

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  9. I did the same thing you did when I was in Bruges! I went to Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk to avoid the crowds. The Michelangelo really is phenomenal. But the church wasn't under construction when I was there. Your posts are really making me want to go back to Bruges.

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  10. There are lot of fascinating aspects of these architectural monuments. The one which I find best are those beautiful windows.

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  11. Beating the crowd is the best idea to enjoy more of the touristy attractions. Actually we didn't get inside the church when we were there. Thanks for sharing this at least I see what are the treasures inside.

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  12. Catching on the first glimpse of a place right after it opens up is something even I prefer. And I feel the real essence of places like a church can be only felt in silence. I am glad to read this blog. Cheers

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  13. First of all, great job on being the first one to the place :)
    I wasn't aware of this Madonna and Child sculpture and yeah it is quite different from the other one. The church look quite good, especially the interiors.

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  14. Wow you are an early birdie! I also do that to enjoy the full experience and not competing with the crowd. This church is gorgeous and very pristine.

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  15. Looks so lovely there, great post :D
    Have a wonderful week,
    xx

    Patricia & Miguel
    www.freeoversea.com

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  16. I like the fact that you start early and then you get the crowded places to yourself. Madonna and her baby look different and unique. What a vintage place! Loved it.

    Manjulika

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  17. beautiful pictures thanks for sharing

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