About this location
The only belfry in the Netherlands is in Sluis. It was built in the example of other belfries in Flanders such as Ghent and Bruges. It rises up in Gothic style as a rectangular building with a sturdy tower. With its four, collared corner towers this belfry dominates the town's skyline. In times of danger these towers were used as observation posts and watchtowers. The tower is 32 metres high and can be climbed in the summer months by a bluestone spiral staircase. From the top of the tower there is an amazing view over Het Zwin nature area.
Jantje van Sluis
In 1424 the wooden figure of a man, carved by Jacob van Huse, was placed in the tower. Over the course of time the figure earned the name “Jantje van Sluis”. He replaced the real-life bell ringer who would tell the time by hitting the bells with his hammer.
The new carillon was incorporated into the space beneath the towers in 1960, with 36 smaller bells (weighing 2020 kilos in total) and two large bells (weighing 970 and 400 kilos respectively). The space underneath was originally intended for the clock workings. Every day, the heavy weights had to be wound by the town´s carillonist. It was a job that took half an hour.
The Council Chamber
The original council chamber only took up a third of the current space and was located at the back next to the chimney. The underside of the heavy beams are decorated with the coats of arms of the Counts and Countesses who have ruled over Sluis, including Gwijde van Dampierre, Louis II of Male, Phillip the Bold, Charles the Bold and Prince Maurits. The benches in the chamber were covered with red cloth, decorated with coats of arms and shields embroidered in silk. The chamber is still in use for meetings of the municipal council, and as a wedding and reception room. The chamber has a beautiful interior with various works of art.
THE BELFRY IS CURRENTLY CLOSED UNTIL MID 2013 FOR RESTORATION WORK