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Medieval To Modern:


Art & History at the Kempinski Hotel Dukes’ Palace Bruges


The enchanting city of Bruges is itself rich in history and art, so it seems perfectly fitting that its first five star hotel should be too!

Located in a former 15th Century Prinsenhof, the recently opened Kempinski Hotel Dukes’ Palace has an enthralling history and impressive architecture. Its gardens and public areas as well as rooms and suites display a varied art collection, from 15th Century reproductions to modernist masterpieces.


The Dukes’ Art Gallery by Kempinski

The Dukes’ Art Gallery presents a palatial setting in which to discover a wide range of unexpected, thought-provoking exhibits. Over 3,000 square metres of manicured gardens surrounding the hotel offer rotating exhibitions of modern art which are all available for guests to purchase and have shipped home should they set eyes on that perfect, must-have piece for their home or garden! Emerging talents such as Quirin Mayer, Stéphanie Le Roux and Zivo are currently on display at the hotel, with new artists William Sweetlove and Fernand Vanderplanke set to be announced in the coming months.


In contrast to these modern pieces, the Dukes’ Palace also exhibits artifacts from its own historic past throughout the hotel, such as the sterling silver coins dating from the 17th century which were found on site during the renovation.


The Former Prinsenhof

Steeped in history, the former Prinsenhof was built for Duke Philip III (Philip the Good) in 1429 to celebrate his marriage to Isabelle of Portugal in 1430. Famous former guests to the original Prinsenhof include court painter Jan van Eyck, one of the leaders of the Flemish Primitif painters in Belgium, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More and William Caxton. Originally, the Prinsenhof was seven times the size it is today, and included a chapel, library, swimming-pool, bathhouse, hall for ballgames, a large tower with an open balcony for minstrels and even a zoo! Over the centuries, the building was passed down through members of the European nobility, until, in 1880, the French nuns of the community (“Dames de la Retraite du Sacré-Coeur”) acquired the property. They renovated the existing structure and built an extension to house a convent, a spiritual retreat and an orphanage.


Finally, more than one hundred years later, the Prinsenhof was bought by its present owners who lovingly refurbished it to create the Kempinski Hotel Dukes’ Palace Bruges. Today, after thorough renovation works, the Prinsenhof has been restored to its former glory. Though today the hotel is smaller than in 1429, it still contains many of its beautiful original features including one of the ballrooms and the chapel with original stained glass windows and frescoes.



One of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities, Bruges is filled with impressive sights - marvel at the dramatic architecture of its buildings and encounter works by artists such as Paul Delvaux, Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling and Emile Claus when you discover the rich and fascinating history of Belgian artwork. Cultural must-sees include:


Heilig Bloedbasiliek

On the west side of the famous Burg square lies the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a chapel lavishly restored in Neo Gothic style in the late 19th century. Its tiny museum holds its most famous relic - a phial of blood said to be Christ’s.



One of medieval Europe’s great secular buildings, the Stadhuis was built in 1376-1420 in the Flamboyant Gothic style.


The North Side

An ultra-modern Pavilion by Toyo Ito, built in 2002 to mark Bruges’

year as a Cultural Capital of Europe.


Memling Museum & Groening Museum

These two museums contain some of the world’s finest examples of late medieval art, presenting a selection of work by artists such as Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling. The two museums are on separate sites, a short distance apart. The Groeninge Museum is a small and charming gallery with a modern edge whilst The Memling Museum is part of the old and recently renovated Saint-Janshospitaal - the medieval hospital that commissioned Memling’s paintings for the very chapel in which they can still be seen.


Museum Gallery XPO Salvador Dali

Museum-Gallery XPO: Salvador Dalí has recently opened in the beautiful belfry of Bruges. This outstanding collection of watercolours, drawings, sculptures and famous works of graphic art from Surrealist master Salvador Dali are on display in a unique building, a medieval hall which has been transformed into a Dalínian showroom, a work of art in itself.



The Dukes’ Palace has a Bruges Art Discovery Package which includes:

Two nights stay in a superior room at Kempinski Dukes Palace for 2 people.

Full Kempinski Breakfast Buffet.

A museum pass for two days.

A carriage ride around the city.

Access to the "Yoaké" spa with sauna and hammam.

Access to the indoor swimming pool.


From €486 (approx. USD 613) for a superior room, based on double occupancy for 2 nights. Offer valid until 31st December 2008 and is subject to availability. 


Kempinski Dukes' Palace Bruges (+32 50 44 78 82; offers standard nightly rates from €285 (approx. USD 360) in a Double Room on a bed & breakfast basis.

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