Dendermonde Tourist Attractions
Located on the right bank of the Schelde, which joins the Dender lies Dendermonde (French Termonde; mouth of the Dender). The town's prosperity, still apparent from the magnificent buildings, stems from the textile industry. A large number of interesting historical monuments and art treasures have been preserved from its long history.The first building on this site at the mouth of the river was a castle in the 10th C. under the protection of which a small town developed and received its charter in 1233. Owing to its strategic position Dendermonde was fortified and often besieged, as in 1667 when the 50,000 soldiers of Louis XIV had to retreat when the townspeople opened the locks thereby flooding the land. Parts of the town were badly damaged in 1914 when it was captured by German troops.
On the fourth Sunday in August a giant procession takes place annually in Dendermonde where the giants Indiaan, Mars and Goliath dance.
Procession of the Bayard Steed
An unusual event is the procession of the Bayard steed with the four children of Haimon on its back. This takes place every ten years (next date: 2000).
Every year at the beginning of September Dendermonde stages a busy international jazz festival.
The buildings of the Grote Markt in the center of the town provide the picture of an attractive enclosed Flemish market square towards the end of the Middle Ages.
The stadhuis (town hall) was built between 1336-1350 as a textile hall and converted in 1600.It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1914, only the belfry (1378) with its carillon remained undamaged. Rebuilding took place in the 1920s. The rooms contain some interesting paintings among which are works by the painter Jan Verhas (1834-1896) who came from this town.The tower is a UNESCO site.
The former vleeshuis (meat market) is another notable building in the market square, easily recognizable by its octagonal tower. This Gothic hall was built in 1460-1462. Until 1862 the benches still stood on the ground floor where the butchers offered their products for sale. The Sint-Joris-Gilde used to meet on the first floor and under the roof the rhetoric guild "De Leeuwerckenaers". From 1715 both these rooms were used as the main police station.
Since its restoration in 1899 the vleeshuis houses the Stedelijk Oudheidkundig Museum (Municipal Museum) of the town's history.
To the south of the market square over the Dender is the Vlasmarkt where the Benediktijnabdij (Benedictine Abbey), destroyed in 1914 and rebuilt in Flemish style 1919-1924, and the neo-Gothic church Sint-Pieters-en Pauluskerk (1901/1902) are situated.
Not far from the Vlasmarkt an alley in the Brusselsestraat turns off right to the Sint- Alexiusbegijnhof, where the last béguines lived until 1975. The béguinage was established in 1250; in 1597 the buildings were devastated by the Geuzen. Most of the 61 brick houses now grouped around the peaceful courtyard were rebuilt at the beginning of the 17th C.
House No. 11 is today the Béguinage Museum and a small béguine house equipped in the original 19th C. style with furniture and two bedrooms containing typical béguine beds is on display.
Sint-Amands, 15km/9miles northeast of Dendermonde, is the birthplace of the great Flemish poet Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916). The town is situated on the Scheldt, which is 225m/738ft wide at this point and can be seen from the riverside promenade. The marble tombstone of the poet and his wife stands behind the church on the bank of the Scheldt.