Poortersloge (Burghers’ Lodge)
The Burghers’ Lodge was built between 1395 and 1417 and was commissioned by the commercial elite of the time, the burgesses of Bruges (patricians and merchants). In those days, this area was at the very centre of international trade. This was where ships were loaded and unloaded and traders could see their ships approaching from the tower. Trading nations built their ‘nation houses’ in the vicinity - these were used to accommodate international representatives and to store goods. The burgesses of Bruges received their trade partners in the Burghers’ Lodge.
Between 1720 and 1890, the Poortersloge was an art school. The classrooms of the Bruges Academy were located here. After the French Revolution, the Academy became a refuge for works of art which had been rescued from the demolished churches of Bruges, including some panels by the Flemish Primitives. The building took on its current appearance at the end of the 19th century and in 1912, the Poortersloge and some adjoining buildings were restored and turned into the City Archive. One hundred years later, the City Archive was moved to a new building due to lack of space.
Today, the Burghers’ Lodge is a location for contemporary art in Bruges. There are a number of exhibitions held here each year, ranging from themed projects to presentations of private collections and solo exhibitions by contemporary artists.