Gruuthuse museum and Gruuthuse castle domain

In medieval Bruges, the Gruuthuse family was one of the most prominent families. They built a magnificent city palace - the present day Gruuthuse Museum. This is the place to go to discover 500 years of Bruges' history. The eponymous castle domain in Oostkamp, a stone’s throw from Bruges, still makes an impression.

Gruuthuse Museum

Noble life during the time of the Burgundians was primarily centred around the city. The Gruuthuse family used a beautiful city palace in the heart of Bruges as their base of operations. That imposing residence dominated the cityscape, amid rich aristocrats’ houses. Today, this special place is home to the Gruuthuse Museum.

The museum chronicles 500 years of Bruges history. It does so with the help of historical objects: majestic tapestries, colourful stained-glass windows, elegant wooden sculptures, historic lace, Burgundian manuscripts, Chinese porcelain and so much more. Each artefact tells a unique Bruges story.

One of the main eye-catchers here is the authentic oratory. This was constructed in the 1470s and literally forms a link with the Church of Our Lady. From that private chapel, the Gruuthuse couple followed the services of worship in the church. The oratory is luxuriously furnished: using the very best oak, a ceiling decorated with gilded motifs and angels supporting the vaulted ceiling. The recently renovated chapel is still something to be admired today.

Gruuthusepaleis 9 © Jan D'Hondt

Gruuthuse Castle Domain

In those days, wealthy and noble families often had a holiday home just a stone’s throw from the city. The Gruuthuse family were no exception. They chose this handsome castle domain in Oostkamp as their permanent country home. The family received royal guests there, such as the English King Edward IV.

The appearance of the castle has changed a number of times since the 15th century. In the current building, you can recognise a neo-Flemish Renaissance style.

Visiting the castle domain as an individual is not possible at the moment. However, groups are welcome there for a guided walk through the 41-hectare castle domain and for other arrangements.

About the Gruuthuse family

Louis of Bruges, also known as Louis of Gruuthuse, was a political and social heavyweight in the 14th century. This internationally renowned nobleman was an adviser to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. He was also elevated as a knight in the renowned Order of the Golden Fleece.

Louis and his family possessed immense wealth. This they held on to thanks to the feudal gruit law. This was a consumption tax on gruit, then an important component of beer. With few exceptions, it was forbidden to brew, distribute or import beer that was not prepared with this family’s gruit.

Louis was at the top of the social ladder, but he tumbled down it at the end of his life. He was accused of treason by the Order of the Golden Fleece. Not long after, he died in disgrace. His body was interred in ‘his’ Church of Our Lady in Bruges.

Meester van de Vorstenportretten_portret van Lodewijk van Gruuthuse © Groeningemuseum Brugge

How to get to Gruuthuyse Castle?

  • By bus
    Route Stationsplein Bruges - Oostkamp Stationsstraat + 4 min walk
    Bus 20 (Oostkamp) - +/- 18 min travel time
    The bus service runs several times per hour.
  • By train
    Bruges railway station - Oostkamp railway station
    L-train 565 to Ghent - +/- 13 minutes travel time
    On average, there is one service per hour.
Kastelen in het Brugse Ommeland - Kasteeldomein Gruuthuyse (2)

Practical information

  • Gruuthuse Castle Domain: Stationsstraat 188, 8020 Oostkamp
  • Gruuthuse Museum: Dijver 17C, 8000 Bruges
  • Church of Our Lady: Mariastraat, 8000 Bruges

More about the opening hours, accessibility and other practical information can be found at Gruuthuse castle domain, Gruuthuse Museum and the Church of Our Lady.