The walk takes you from the statue of Guido Gezelle, in the touristic heart of Bruges to the beautiful gardens of the Guido Gezelle museum. The 19th century West-Flemish poet Guido Gezelle guides you from the Church of Our Lady through the parish of Saint-Walburga with its English influences to the charming quarter of Saint-Anne. You stroll along lovely canals and picturesque streets to the mills in the green outskirts of Bruges.
Guido Gezelle is very well known in Flanders. Streets in many towns are named after the poet. He wrote in the Flemish language, often using dialect. The life and work of Gezelle connects you to 19th century Bruges: its buildings, school life, political struggles between liberals and Catholics, pastoral work and the cult of the Holy blood. Gezelle had also a special relationship with the English immigrants in Bruges and the English institutions such as the English convent, the English seminary and college. He was a real lover of England and spoke the language fluently. He dreamed of going to England as a missionary, but his superiors kept him in Belgium because of his exceptional literary talent.
Unique documents and manuscripts of the Guido Gezelle Archives, sound and poetry fragments, old film material of the archives of the national television and 19th century photographs of the city archives, brighten up the tour.
Enjoy the walk…
Afstand: 3 km
Start: Bruges Public Library (also possible : start at any stop)
22 stops, short tour possible
After years of careful preparation the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter De Coninck was inaugurated on the market of Bruges on July 11th, 1887. Breydel, a butcher and De Coninck, a weaver, were the leaders of the Bruges uprising against the French in 1302, leading to the Battle of the Golden Spurs at Courtrai on 11th July 1302. Both civilians were celebrated as patriotic heroes. Together with the battle of 1302 they stand as a symbol for Flemish identity and emancipation in Belgium.
Though he himself as a priest was weary of political
nationalism Gezelle contributed to the festivities with some poems and songs such as Bruggewaards! (Coming to Bruges). The poem was afterwards published in the volume of poetry Tijdkrans. (Wreath of Time). It became a popular song among Flemish choirs and choral societies.
On the sidewall of the house you can see a memorial stone inscribed with a text of Guido Gezelle. In 1892, Baron Charles van Caloen commissioned several similar stones. They were placed in Bruges, at spots where the Holy Blood had once been hidden. The Holy Blood was originally brought to Bruges during the crusades by Thierry of Alsace. In 1578 the Brotherhood of The Holy Blood was forced by the Calvinist government of the city of Bruges to hand in all their valuable possessions.
As tradition goes, de Malvenda hid the relic of the Holy Blood in his garden. He had lived in different places in Bruges and each time he took the relic along. In this house he hid it in the cellar, which has two windows with a view over the canal.
Inscription on the memorial stone
As Obededom hid the Holy Grail,
so did de Malvenda,
under whose care the Holy Blood was kept here,
protected against hate, envy and the fires of war.
Watch the film about St. Walburga's Church and the Holy Oil