Photographer's Note

MECHELEN is a historical city in the heart of the old Brabant, halfway between Antwerp and Brussels. WIth a forward thinking council of liberals and greens, the city has become quite a popular place to live (with house prices now rising steeply) and visit. The city has a rich history and a lively scene of pubs and bars, serving excellent local beers. Yes, those are two good reasons for me to visit this city.


The "IJzerenleen" is one of the main streets in the city center. It is located just around a corner from the Grand Place. In the old days it used to be an open waterway, hence its width. In fact, this was a fish market until around 1530.

The strange name refers to the old iron handrails that used to be there to prevent people from falling into the water, especially when going home late at night after a visit to a pub.

The striking medieval building on the right is the "Schepenhuis", i.e. where the "schepenen" (the aldermen) used to meet. Most of it dates from the 13th and 14th century. In the 15th century it briefly functioned as the Mechelen Parliament and the High Court of the Burgundy Netherlands.

Since July 2020 cars have been banned here. The Ijzerenleen is now a lively part of the large pedestrian zone that is the city center. A bold but very effective decision by the city council, as it has made the city center a lot more lively and enjoyable.

One of my favourite places in Mechelen to go and have a cup of coffee. Plenty of outdoor seating available!

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3045 W: 35 N: 6707] (34748)
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