Church of Our Lady

Passiedrieluik - Bernard van Orley en Marcus Gheeraerts

The 115.5m high spire of the Church of Our Lady in Bruges shows the craftsmanship of its builders, as it is the second highest brick tower in the world. Once visitors step inside the church, they can explore the rich art collection.

Praalgraf Maria van Bourgondië en Karel de Stoute

Church of Our Lady

The first church built here dated from before 900. Building work on the current church began around 1230 and was only completed some 200 years later in the 15th century. Its spire of 115.5 m is the highest brick tower in the Benelux and the second highest in the world. In its long history, the church has seen several fires and it was even auctioned off during the French Revolution. However, it remained a place of prayer and a last resting place for quite a few prominent figures through the centuries. A special phenomenon is the prayer chapel which Louis de Gruuthuse had built in the 1470s to connect the Gruuthuse palace with the church. To build it, one of the church windows was broken and a staircase was installed between the chapel and the church so Louis de Gruuthuse and his wife Margaretha of Borssele could attend services without leaving their home.

Grave monument to Mary of Burgundy and Charles the Bold

Mary of Burgundy died on 27 March 1482 in Bruges after a hunting accident. She was then only 25 years old. Her husband, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I had a grave monument erected for his beloved wife. In accordance with her last wishes, Mary of Burgundy was buried at the centre of the sanctuary in the Church of Our Lady. She is shown as lying on her tomb, with her crowned head resting on a pillow and two dogs by her feet to symbolise her loyalty to her husband. She holds both hands up in prayer. The grave monument for Charles the Bold, Mary of Burgundy’s father, was designed by Jacques Jonghelinck and erected next to Mary’s in 1563. Charles the Bold had died in 1477 at the Battle of Nancy, but he got a proper grave only around 70 years later. Hence why it is partly in Renaissance style, in line with 16th-century fashion.

Praalgraf Maria van Bourgondië
Passiedrieluik - Bernard van Orley en Marcus Gheeraerts
Passiedrieluik - Bernard van Orley en Marcus Gheeraerts

Passion Triptych - Bernard van Orley and Marcus Gheeraerts

Bernard van Orley (c. 1488-1541) started this altarpiece and Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (1521-1587) finished it. At the centre, it depicts Christ on the Cross while the panels on the sides show the Flagellation, the Stations of the Cross, the descent into Limbo and the Lamentation respectively. The altarpiece was commissioned in 1532 by Mary of Hungary for the grave chapel of her aunt Margaret of Austria and her second husband Filibert II, Duke of Savoye. But Bernard van Orley died in 1542 with the work unfinished. However, when Charles the Bold’s remains were moved to Bruges, it was decided to ask Gheeraerts to finish Van Orley’s triptych and Margaret of Parma had it transferred to the sanctuary in the church.

Passiedrieluik - Bernard van Orley en Marcus Gheeraerts

Practical information


8000 Brugge
View directions

Opening times

  • From Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am until 5 pm.

  • On Sundays from 1:30 until 5 pm.

  • Irregular closing days: for more information, please visit the website.

Disabled access

  • Easy to access for the disabled.

Nice to know

  • Admission to the church: free

  • Admission to the museum: €8.00 for standard tickets

Other sites nearby

Hans Memling - Reliekschrijn van de Heilige Ursula
Bruges is always worth a visit, and that should definitely include a peek inside the Museum Saint John’s Hospital.
Medaillon Clarice Orsini
The magnificent Bladelin Court houses several works of art associated with the rich history of the City Palace.