The Grote Markt (La Grande Place in French - The Grand Market Place in English) is the central square of Mechelen. It's the largest square of the city centre.
Many known buildings are remarkable on this square, among them the cathedral's tower, the City Hall (Stadhuis) and the House of Aldermen (Schepenhuis). On the square you can visit some famous pubs, like the Iron (den IJzer), the Bourse (de Beurs) and the Empress (de Keizerin). In the past, when the weather outside was sunny, colorfull wooden terraces were put outside, which were very specific to the Grand Market Place. A decade ago these wooden terraces were replaced by uniform gray parasols.
Previously a policeman, at the corner of Grand Market Place and Short Bruul, arranged traffic. By a button in his cab, he regulated the traffic light, which stood in the 'Short' Bruul. This cab and traffic light disappeared 20-odd years ago, because the city centre has been consistently made car-free.
For centuries the Grand Market Place in Mechelen contained the statue of Margaret from Austria. "Our Margrietje", as she was sheerfully cherished by their inhabitants, stood in the middle of the central square and the statue itself was placed upon a large sundial. A smaller dial hung above the entrance of City Hall for many years, but has now also disappeared. On the terrace of Mechelen City Hall one can find the statue of emperor Charles V, who ruled over the Netherlands (and half the world) during the 16th century. He was the little nephew of Margaret of Austria, who lived in his residence in the current Court Yard of Mechelen.
Before the construction of an underground car park in 2004, archaeologists found a number of discoveries, among an old well. They also discovered that the ancient centre of the city was located more to the southwest of the square.
- Grote Markt, watch "Externe links" for photos and more...