Town Hall, Oudenaarde: Detail, side entrance during restoration
Built by architect Hendrik van Pede in 1526-1537 to replace the medieval Schepenhuis (Aldermen’s House) that occupied the same site. Another older structure, the 14th-century Cloth Hall, was retained and now forms a sort of extension at the back of the Town Hall proper. The Town Hall initially combined functions of government and commerce, with rooms on the ground floor reserved for traders: the Corn House, Weighhouse and Lower Cloth Hall. The Oudenaarde Town Hall was a late flowering of secular Brabantine Gothic architecture, carrying on the stylistic tradition of the town halls at Leuven, Brussels, and Middelburg. The Town Hall and its Belfry were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999. The city hall houses a unique collection of Oudenaarde tapestries.