Mechelen or Malines as it is known in French is a town in Flanders which has a strong association with art alongside nearby Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, and Leuven. It was notably a centre for artistic production during the Northern Renaissance, when painters, printmakers, illuminators and composers of polyphony were attracted by patrons such as Margaret of York, Margaret of Austria and Hieronymus van Busleyden. Today it says it has six things to boast about above all!
Mechelen features on the UNESCO World Heritage List no less than five times: St Rumbold’s Tower, the Belfry of the Town Hall, the Large Beguinage, The Ommegang Giants and Flemish Carillon Culture. And naturally, the people of Mechelen are super-proud of their more than 300 listed buildings. Finally, the city centre boasts no fewer than eight historic churches, each with its own distinctive style: large or small, Gothic or baroque, Rubens or Van Dyck.
2. Experience tradition with all your senses
Mechelen is home to numerous ateliers and workshops that keep alive artesan tradition on one side, as well as a new generation of Mechelaars with skill and creativity stands for new traditions, crafts and trades. You're invited to taste, see, touch and really experience them! Enjoy a private concert on the Carillon of St-Rumbold’s, go on a tasting tour and discover local specialities, marvel at the collection of tapestries at Royal Manufacturers De Wit or indulge in a Gouden Carolus beer or maybe a wee dram of single malt whisky at Het Anker Brewery.
3. To the roof of the city – St-Rumbold’s Tower
Discover Mechelen with your head in the clouds! St-Rumbold’s Tower is the place to go if you are looking for a total experience. A new discovery is waiting in each of the tower’s six rooms. You will have never come this close to two carillons, bells and a clock mechanism. Your 538-step climb will be rewarded on top of the skywalk that offers magnificent views over the city and its surroundings.
4. A go-to destination for families
Planckendael Zoo, Technopolis science activity centre, the Toy Museum, St-Rumbold’s tower and a boat trip on the Dijle river promise hours of family fun. Add hotel facilities adapted to families and a ‘Family Friendly’ label for restaurants and you know you can expect a warm welcome for the entire family throughout the entire city!
5. Ursuline Winter Garden
You would not expect to see it while wandering the Flemish countryside; a magnificent building complex that is world-renowned for its unique architectural styles ranging from neoclassicism to art nouveau. The absolute highlight is the wonderful art nouveau dome of the Winter Garden and its mesmerizing play of light and colours. This gem is found at a mere 15 minutes from Mechelen.
6. Urban hotspots
Looking for hip and trendy hotspots in a historical setting? Look no further, because Mechelen is the right fit for you! Over the years more and more locals have opened up shopping hotspots ranging from Scandinavian cool to urban trendy. Have a cup of coffee in one of the many breakfast or brunch bars, go for a healthy lunch or sit down to a romantic dinner. Discover the best the Mechelen shopping streets have to offer, or get some rest on a terrace on one of the many squares, urban gardens or near the river Dijle.