The loss of men to the many wars of the 12th and 13th century led to the setting up of communities of women throughout Belgium, Netherlands, northern France and Western Germany. These Roman Catholic Church lay sisters dedicated their life to God without retiring from the community, living in a walled compound of small cottages called a "béguinage" (French) or "Begijnhof" (Dutch) such as this one in Bruges.
Bruges – Photo Tip

How I found this beautiful scene in Bruges

Photo by Jurjen Drenth

Bruges – Photo Tip How I found this beautiful scene in Bruges

When I saw this nun walking over the grass to take a short-cut, I waited until she stepped into a free space between the trees so I could capture the sense of peace in this remarkable place.

Jurjen Drenth
Jurjen Drenth Travel Photographer

Some people say Bruges is like a museum. That the city is so beautiful and yet there is no life in it. In a way that’s true. Even at weekends, when it is very busy with tourists, it is still like walking in an old painting that has come alive.

From the moment I enter the old town center, I have the feeling I am in a private territory, especially here at the Begijnhof. It is like a small village in itself because of its inner courtyard of almshouses built encircling a church. When you enter the gate, you naturally feel respect because of the quiet atmosphere.

Bruges is beautiful and the many wars in its history seem to have left it untouched. It is one of the oldest cities in northern Europe and has an atmosphere you can find nowhere else. In Bruges, you are already walking in a painting, but this is a painting within a painting. Time and stress do not exist here.

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The St Elisabeth Church in the Begijnhof was built in 1245, then rebuilt after a fire in 1584, with the beguinage itself dating to 1230 and founded by Johanna of Constantinople, Countess of Flanders. Saint Elizabeth was a Hungarian princess who married at age 14 and was widowed at 20, then dedicated her life to helping the poor and sick until she died at the age of 24. Photo by Jurjen Drenth

Jurjen Drenth

Jurjen Drenth

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II

Aperture
ƒ/5.6
Exposure
1/45
ISO
1600
Focal
160 mm

The St Elisabeth Church in the Begijnhof was built in 1245, then rebuilt after a fire in 1584, with the beguinage itself dating to 1230 and founded by Johanna of Constantinople, Countess of Flanders. Saint Elizabeth was a Hungarian princess who married at age 14 and was widowed at 20, then dedicated her life to helping the poor and sick until she died at the age of 24.

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