Flemish beguinages

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Beautiful red houses of the small béguinage in Ghent.

In the 13th century the béguines (women who lived a religious life, but without any formal vows) founded the béguinages as closed communities where they could live and worship in a quiet environment. They are architecturally distinct unities within cities, composed of small houses, a church and a (mostly central) green space.

Annick used to work in the small béguinage of Ghent as a social worker, but we also love visiting those areas of peace and quiet within the centre of other cities as well. The béguinages are often a bit hidden and feel like a separate village within the bounderies of the city. They are often well-maintained and the owners take pride in their house and often their garden as well. If you ever get the change to visit one of them, certainly do so!

Entrance to the small béguinage of Ghent.
Entrance to the small béguinage of Ghent.
Houses and doors in the small béguinage, Ghent.
Houses and doors in the small béguinage, Ghent.
A single house of the great béguinage in Ghent.
A single house of the great béguinage in Ghent.
The béguinage of Bruges.
The béguinage of Bruges.
A place of peace and quiet... (Bruges).
A place of peace and quiet… (Bruges).
Back of the béguinage and part of the medieval city wall of Tongeren, along the river Jeker.
Back of the béguinage and part of the medieval city wall of Tongeren, along the river Jeker.
The 13th-century béguinage of Tongeren is a village within a city: it is no longer surrounded by an enclosure wall.
The 13th-century béguinage of Tongeren is a village within a city: it is no longer surrounded by an enclosure wall.
Flowers at the béguinage of Dendermonde.
Flowers at the béguinage of Dendermonde.
Old pump, which provided the béguines with water (Dendermonde).
Old pump, which provided the béguines with water (Dendermonde).
The central church of the béguinage in Dendermonde.
The central church of the béguinage in Dendermonde.
The béguinage of Kortrijk.
The béguinage of Kortrijk.
View on the church of Our Lady from the béguinage of Kortrijk.
View on the church of Our Lady from the béguinage of Kortrijk.
The béguinage of Herentals.
The béguinage of Herentals.
The béguinage of Antwerpen in the afternoon sun.
The béguinage of Antwerpen in the afternoon sun.

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