Damme is an idyllic village set on the Zwin river between Zeebrugge and Bruges. It is about four miles northeast of Bruges, and makes a fine and quiet place to stay if you prefer lodging in a small village; you can visit Bruges by small boat.
The river and silt played a great role in the rise and fall of Damme between the years 1180 and today.
Damme As a Traveler's Port Today
Damme has many pleasant outdoor cafes, as well as adequate restaurants and lodging. The walk along the canal is wonderful, and our pictures show some of the vistas along the canal walk, including an old windmill you can visit. You'll need a car to visit Damme.
But, here's what I'd do the next visit. Use Damme as your hub, especially for visiting Bruges and vicinity. Here's the thing: most tourists want to see Bruges, and driving there isn't really so bad, but parking may be worse. But, for those of you who like the quiet of rural accommodation, I'd suggest you stay in Damme and take the boat from Damme into Brugge. Have the best of both worlds. You'll find plenty of parking in Damme.
Lamme Goedzak Schedule
The boat runs from April to the end of September.
Departs Damme: 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17:00
Departs Brugge: 10. 12. 14. 16, 18:00
You can make a reservation for the boat at the tourist office.
The town hall remains as a token of the earlier economic strength of Damme. Built in 1464-68 by Gottfried de Bosschere, it is an excellent example of late Gothic architecture.
The most famous structure in town may be the Damme Church, Onze Lieve Vrouw, the tower of which is about three times taller that anything else in town. You can climb up and get fantastic views of the countryside.
St. John's Hospital, founded before 1249, has a museum inside with furniture, paintings, religious artifacts and household effects from centuries ago--worth seeing.
The Herring Market, Haringmarkt, is a square with little houses, once poorhouses. Damme had a herring Market here in the middle ages.
Where to Stay
Damme offers hotels and bed and breakfasts. A good value, highly rated hotel is the Hotel Het Oud Gemeentehuis, which has a bar and restaurant.
You'll see various sculptures around Damme. The artist is Charles Delporte, and he's big on heads (see our photo gallery below). He has a museum in Damme in what was an old school building.
Damme is a book village. Every second Sunday of the month, there is a book market on the Market Square in the center of town.