Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Oudenaarde
Oudenaarde (French Audenarde), in the south of East Flanders where the Flemish Ardennes give way to the coastal moor land (geest) and which is traversed by the Scheldt, is a quiet township which possesses a considerable textile industry. For art lovers Oudenaarde is, after Ghent and Tournai, of the greatest interest because of its impressive buildings in the Scheldt Gothic style and its magnificent town hall. The town was once famous for its wall tapestries, the so-called Verduren, which differed by the coloring of their floral motifs from examples in Brussels where pictorial motifs were preferred.
Oudenaarde is the birthplace of Margarethe of Parma, the Stadholder of the Spanish Netherlands from 1559-1567, and of the painter Adriaan Brouwer (1605-1638) in whose honor an annual festival is celebrated.
Oudenaarde was first mentioned in the 11th C. when Count Balduin of Flanders built a fortress here. Around this a linen-weavers' town developed which, in the 13th C., was besieged and attacked on several occasions by the men of Ghent. After the decline of the linen industry in the 15th C. the people of Oudenaarde turned to the production of their celebrated Verduren which continued for some 300 years. Meanwhile Oudenaarde several times suffered destruction and siege during the quarrels of the Flemish towns, the Dutch War of Liberation and the campaigns of conquest of Louis XIV. Oudenaarde intervened conclusively in history in the battle of July 11, 1708 when troops of the Duke of Marlborough, supported by Prince Eugen, defeated the French under the Duke of Vendôme and the Duke of Bourgogne in the Spanish War of Succession.