Lier is known as Little Brugge and that is because of the beautiful canals here.
I must say that having visited both places.....I found Lier's canals more quaint....and that is because they are not as touristy as the ones found in Brugge.
Lier will always be special to me for a number of reasons....and my first sighting of Europe canals is one of them.....and as you can see here...it was beautiful!!
To Hotel Tip.
I first learnt about the Beguinage here on vt. When doing research there is nothing like vt for first hand info from people that have been there, lived there...and done that.
A big thank you to Dannie (irisbe) for showing us around! It's people like you that vt value!!...and us travelers appreciate immensly.
This is also a 'must see' when visiting Lier. More info on the site below.
I'm sure you have read this in my travelogue but I feel it is a must see whilst visiting Lier.
The statue here of the sheep and herder has an interesting story.
Aparently the residents of Lier have the nicname of 'Sheep's heads' due to the fact that in the old days they were asked to choose between being in charge of a cattle market or a University.
Leuven down the road got the Uni..... :o)
You can't miss this icon when visiting Lier. The Zimmer Clock is quite something!!
It commands a prestige spot in the centre of town and demads your attention :o)
The interesting story of the Zimmertoren is on the website below.
De Moedige Bootvissers will take you on a short (half an hour) canal boat upon the Kleine Nete, the original small river going through Lier but now kept between locked gates.
It is really nice and relaxing.
Making arrangements : Taverne 't Schaeckbert, Zimmerplein 12 te Lier, tel +32 (0)3 480 66 40.
The guide is the one sailing the boat but if you want to make a combined trip boat + guided city visit, you can contact the Tourist information centre of Lier and their guide will do both: guiding on board and in the city This is ok from 15 persons on. So you better see if you can come with a little group.
The Zimmer tower is a wonder of technic, not the tower itself, but the clock that was built buy the Lier clockmaker Louis Zimmer (1888-1970). He built this Jubilee clock for the world fair in 1939 at New York. You can see and visit this clock in the pavilion next to the tower.
It's almost inbeleavable what you can read on this clock, like off course the time and the time in different time zones, but also the tides, the seasons, the signs of the Zodiac and what to tell about the time of an comet that will return in 25.800 years (this is the slowest running clock in the whole world).
Lier: The Zimmer Tower (3)
On the right facade, one rediscovers a game of four bells and four robots: the youth, the adolescence, adult man and old person. One rediscovers equally represented some personages of the local literature.
In addition, at noon ringing, a procession composed from the representations of the Kings of Belgium as well as former Maire of Lier goes out of a door aside.
To the interior: various phenomena are explained: the tides, the eclipse, the stars spinning, ... (57 altogether)
Sur la façade de droite, on retrouve un jeu de quatre cloches et quatre automates : la jeunesse, l'adolescence, homme adulte et vieillard . On retrouve également représenté quelques personnages de la littérature locale.
En outre, à midi sonnante, un cortège composé des représentations des Rois de Belgique ainsi que des anciens bourgmestres de Lier sort d'une porte de côté.
A l'intérieur divers phénomènes sont expliqués: les marées, les éclipses, les étoiles filants,... (57 au total)
Lier: The Zimmer Tower (2)
The astronomical clock.
One there rediscovers: the hour of Greenwich, the moon location, the signs of Zodiacs, the sun course with location on Sundays, the days of the week, the earth and its meridians, the months,...
On y retrouve: l'heure de Greenwich, l'emplacement de la lune, les signes du Zodiaques, le cours du soleil avec emplacement des dimanches, les jours de la semaine, la terre et ses méridiens, les mois,...
Lier: The Zimmer Tower
The Tower Zimmer formerly called Cornélius tower is a trace of the 2nd wall of walls and dates back to the 14th century. (last restoration in 1929)
In 1930, Louis Zimmer offers to his city the bells to which one it adds the astronomical clock the following year.
La Tour Zimmer autrefois appelée Tour Cornélius est un vestige du 2ème mur de remparts et date du 14ème siècle. (dernière restauration en 1929)
En 1930, Louis Zimmer offre à sa ville le carillon auquel il ajoute l'horloge astronomique l'année suivante.
The Beguinage (4)
This is a particularly resting place and inviting to the stroll. We did only briefly to cross but that deserves that one oneself there lingers at length (as this is the case for the whole city in fact!)
We will return soon, this is promised!
To do you an idea, a very interesting site (to see other in the contacts)
C'est un endroit particulièrement reposant et invitant à la flanerie. Nous n'avons fait que brièvement traverser mais cela mérite qu'on s'y attarde plus longuement (comme c'est le cas pour toute la ville en fait !)
Nous reviendrons bientôt, c'est promis !
Pour vous faire une idée, un site très intérressant ( voir other dans les contact)
The Beguinage (3) The church
The church to the center of the beguinage is dedicated to Holy Margareta. Of baroque style, constructed between 1664-1666, she is "groomed" of a steeple lantern.
The statue of the principal pediment (Holy Margareta) dates back to 1777. The 12 stone glasses are of 1897 except one dating back to 1867. Unfortunately was the church closed then and we couldn't visit.
The last beguine deceased in 1994.
L'église au centre de l'ensemble est dédiée à Sainte Margareta. De style baroque, construite entre 1664-1666, elle est "coiffé" d'un clocher-lanterne.
La statue du fronton principal (Sainte Margareta) date de 1777. Les 12 vitraux sont de 1897 sauf un datant de 1867. Malheureusement l'église etait fermée et nous n'avons pas pus la visiter.
La dernière béguine décéda en 1994.
Lier: The beguinage
Since 1998 the Unesco decided to let the béguinages figure on the list of the world-wide heritage of humanity.
Typically Flemish phenomenon (one finds some equally to the Netherlands), the béguinages were created in the Middle Age. It was a community of religious one to the well established rules (chasteness, etc) but less strict than for the monks (for example) established often in the middle of the cities. One in account currently 26 in Belgium.
It was a mixture of individualities (béguines) and of communities (convents) installed in an special architectural environment and very typical: A group of well homogenous houses and of mustered convents around the church, center of the contemplative activity. The very modest houses had often a tiny enclosed of walls gardens and carried each the name of a Saint or of a Holy one. The together was surrounded by walls, independent of the remainder of the city and closed by doors (closed the fallen night)
Depuis 1998 l'Unesco a décidé de faire figurer les béguinages sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l'humanité.
Phénomène typiquement Flamand (on en trouve également aux Pays-Bas), les béguinages ont été créés au moyen ages. C'était une communauté de religieuse aux règles bien établies (chasteté, etc) mais moins strictes que pour les moniales (par exemple) implantée souvent au milieu des villes. On en compte actuellement 26 en Belgique.
C'était un mélange d'individualités (béguines) et de communautés (couvents) installés dans un environnement architectural particulier et très typique: Un ensemble de maisons bien homogène et de couvents rassemblés autour de l'église, centre d'activité contemplative. Les maisons très modestes avaient souvent un minuscule jardins enclos de murs et portaient chacune le nom d'un Saint ou d'une Sainte. L'ensemble était entourés de murs, indépendant du reste de la ville et fermés par des portes (closes la nuit tombée)
The Beguinage (2)
The area of the Béguinage covers 2 hectares altogether. The entry portal, of baroque style dates back to~ 1690.
Most of the houses are equally of the 17 ème century, it is evident that a framework as this one is a source of privileged inspiration for number of local artists, again these days. One counts 150 houses.
L'ensemble du Béguinage couvre 2 hectares au total. Le portail d'entrée, de style baroque date de ~1690.
La plupart des maisons sont également du 17 ème siècle, il est évident qu'un cadre comme celui-ci est une source d'inspiration privilégiée pour nombre d'artistes locaux, encore de nos jours. On compte 150 maisons .
Next to the Zimmer tower you can find the Zimmer pavilion.
In here you are welcomed to marvel at the Wonder clock.
This clock has taken lots of years to be created by Zimmer and it was shown on the world exhibition in New York and was moved to the Rockefeller centre.
Then came World War II and the clock still was in USA.
Those guys from US had this weird law that said that any object on USA that is not claimed within 5 years becomes US property.
The war, as you know, lasted 5 years! It took us till 1954 before they finally donated our wonder clock again!
When our folks came to pick up the clock, what do you think happened????
The Americans had dismantled it piece by piece to try to figure out how it all worked and they could not put it back again!
One of the agreements was that they could make copies of all the pieces and put their own duplicate of wonder clock back into one piece.
Nevertheless they could neither put ours back as it was, nor could they with their copy.
It took Zimmer 2 full years to repair the damage done!
I got the recommendation that if I ever go to New York again I should try to visit the Rockefeller centre and check if that copy is still there unfinished!
The wonder clock consists out of many clocks that makes every astronomical fan goes drooling. If you are really interested in this matter, you best take your time to visit and for the merely few Euros the entry costs, you should certainly not miss it!
Inside this pavilion you can see other pieces by Zimmer. One of the most remarkable is the Victory clock: a clock made to co memorise the end of WWII. It has indeed the shape of a V, like in Victory!
I heard he only made a small series of these and at one point he destroyed a few. But one of the others is in private hands as it was once given to the person’s father as Zimmer and this person were friends.
What else there is to see? Decorations of honour, other dials works and, a reconstruction of the atelier. This atelier as you can see it here, shows really old material and devices and it is really a wonder how, with such almost primitive stuff, Zimmer was capable of creating this legacy he left for us to wonder!
Take in consideration that at the time he studied, it was very unusual for common people to study older then 10 or 11, and that higher studies were just not done in Flemish, but only in French (yes even after independence we were suppressed by the minority of Francophones).
Imagine how this young man had to study and translate and learn everything in a language that was not his own!
Persistence and brilliancy!