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Information about Rotterdam Bible tiles from the Beguinage of Bruges in Belgium

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Just behind the Minnewater lies the Beguinage

The Beguinage 'De Wijngaard' (= the Vineyard). It is one of those typical areas in Bruges where one can find more peace and quiet than in the sometimes busy and overcrowded streets of the town center. The Beguinage is a group of houses around a little garden covered with large poplar trees. It was here that during the last seven centuries lived the beguines of Bruges. In 1937 the beguinage became a monastery for the Benedictine sisters who still live here now.

The Beguinage of Bruges was founded in 1245 by the Countess of Flanders, Margaretha of Constantinopel, daughter of Count Baldwin who conquered Constantinopel (now Istambul) during the crusades. In 1299, Philip the beautiful of France, placed the Beguinage under his own rule, thereby withdrawing it from the influence of the town magistrate.Visitors enter the place via a bridge over the canal. The entrance gate bears the date 1776. A lot of houses, however, are much older than that. Most date from the 17th and 18th century. Some houses were built in the 19th century in neo-gothic style. In the southern part is a little dead end street where still some houses of the 15th-16th century can be found. The largest and most impressive house is situated in the left corner behind the garden. It was here that the 'grootjuffrouw', or 'grand-dame' lived. It was she who ruled over the beguinage. The original church of the 13th century was destroyed by a fire in 1584. It was rebuild in 1609 and later again renovated in late baroque style.

(Tourist and travel information Bruges)

 

 02

The Minnewater with swans

For most visitors the Minnewater and its lovely park are the entrance to the beautiful city of Bruges. The Minnewater is a canalized lake. From the bridge (1740) one can already enjoy a nice panoramic view over the town. Because of the idyllic surroundings it is mostly referred to as 'the lake of Love', the Dutch word 'Minne' meaning 'love'.

Actually, the origins of the lake are less romantic. It was here that the coastal river 'Reie' entered the city. The river was later canalized and made to continue until the center of town. It is not sure where the name 'Minnewater' comes from. An explanation could be 'water van het gemeen', which could be translated as the 'common water'. The lake was used as a water reservoir, to keep the water of the canals at a constant level. Next to the lake is the Minnewater park, where sometimes in the summertime (rock) concerts are organized.

One of the symbols of Bruges is the swan. There are always plenty of them on the 'Minnewater'. There exists a nice legend about the swans of Bruges. In 1488 the people of Bruges had executed one of the town administrators belonging to the court of Maximilian of Austria, husband and successor of duchess Mary of Burgundy. The town administrator was called 'Pieter Lanchals', a name which means ' long neck'. The Lanchals family coat of arms featured a white swan. Legend has it that Maximilian punished Bruges by obliging the population to keep swans on their lakes and canals till eternity. Most of these legends and romantic interpretations come from the 19th century. Believe them or not : the beautiful 'Minnewater' deserves them.

(Tourist and travel information about Bruges)

 

 

 03

Visitors enter the Beguinage via a bridge over the canal. The entrance gate bears the date 1776.

 

 

 04

The Beguine Museum is located in one of the little houses of the Beguinage  

The beguinage of Bruges is since 1928 a real monastery with Benedictine sisters. One of the little houses has been transformed into a museum, so that visitors can have an idea of how beguines used to live here from the 13th century onwards.

The house itself was built in the 17th century, when most of the houses of the beguinage were renovated. Very picturesque is the Flemish kitchen. The kitchen is completed with nice furniture and tiles. In the living room are some valuable paintings from the 16th century (by Abraham Bloemaert and Jan Antoon Garemijn) as well as devices to make textile products such as lace (a spinning wheel, a bobbin lace cushion, etc.).Other typical 18th century furniture and decoration material can be seen in the bedroom and the dining room.

(Tourist and travel information about Bruges)

 

 05

Nice furniture and thirtyRotterdam Bible tiles

 

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The biblical tiles with spider head corner motifs from c. 1680 can be attributed to the Rotterdam tile and pottery factory Schiedamsedijk / Leuvehaven (information from Jan Pluis). Abraham van Lier was the owner from 1675 to 1692. On 19 May 1692 Abraham van Lier sold the factory to his colleague Pieter Janszn Aalmis (1648-1707).

 

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THE OLD TESTAMENT

 

 31

Genesis 3:6
THE FIRST SIN
>The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too.<

 

 

 32

Genesis 4:3-5
CAIN MURDERS ABEL
>One day, Cain gave part of his harvest to the Lord, 4 and Abel also gave an offering to the Lord. He killed the first-born lamb from one of his sheep and gave the Lord the best parts of it. The Lord was pleased with Abel and his offering, but not with Cain and his offering. This made Cain so angry that he could not hide his feelings.<

 

 

 33

Genesis 19:15-16
THE EVIL CITY OF SODOM
>Early the next morning the two angels tried to make Lot hurry and leave. They said, “Take your wife and your two daughters and get out of here as fast as you can! If you don't, every one of you will be killed when the Lord destroys the city.” 16 At first, Lot just stood there. But the Lord wanted to save him. So the angels took Lot, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city.<

 

 

 34

Genesis 21:14
HAGAR AND ISHMAEL ARE SENT AWAY
>Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar an animal skin full of water and some bread. Then he put the boy on her shoulder and sent them away. They wandered around in the desert near Beersheba.<

 

  

 35

Genesis 21:15-19
HAGAR AND ISHMAEL ARE SENT AWAY
>After they had run out of water, Hagar put her son under a bush. Then she sat down a long way off, because she could not bear to watch him die. And she cried bitterly. When God heard the boy crying, the angel of God called out to Hagar from heaven and said, “Hagar, why are you worried? Don't be afraid. I have heard your son crying. Help him up and hold his hand, because I will make him the father of a great nation.” Then God let her see a well. So she went to the well and filled the skin with water, then gave some to her son.<

 

 

 36

Genesis 22:6-8
THE LORD TELLS ABRAHAM TO OFFER ISAAC AS A SACRIFIEE
>Abraham put the wood on Isaac's shoulder, but he carried the hot coals and the knife. As the two of them walked along, Isaac said, “Father, we have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”
“My son,” Abraham answered, “God will provide the lamb.”<  

 

 

 37

Genesis 22:9-13
THE LORD TELLS ABRAHAM TO OFFER ISAAC AS A SACRIFIEE
>When they reached the place that God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and placed the wood on it. Next, he tied up his son and put him on the wood. He then took the knife and got ready to kill his son. But the Lord's angel shouted from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am!” he answered. “Don't hurt the boy or harm him in any way!” the angel said. “Now I know that you truly obey God, because you were willing to offer him your only son.” Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in the bushes. So he took the ram and sacrificed it in place of his son.<

 

 

 38

Genesis 39:10-12
JOSEPH AND POTIPHAR’S WIFE
>She kept begging Joseph day after day, but he refused to do what she wanted or even to go near her. One day, Joseph went to Potiphar's house to do his work, and none of the other servants were there. Potiphar's wife grabbed hold of his coat and said, “Make love to me!” Joseph ran out of the house, leaving her hanging onto his coat.<

 

 

 39

Numbers 21:6-9
MOSES MAKE A BRONZE SNAKE
>Then the Lord sent poisonous snakes that bit and killed many of them. Some of the people went to Moses and admitted, “It was wrong of us to insult you and the Lord. Now please ask him to make these snakes go away.” Moses prayed, and the Lord answered, “Make a snake out of bronze and place it on top of a pole. Anyone who gets bitten can look at the snake and won't die.” Moses obeyed the Lord. And all of those who looked at the bronze snake lived, even though they had been bitten by the poisonous snakes.<

 

 

 40

Numbers 22:22-23
BALAAM AND HIS DONKEY MEET AN ANGEL
>Balaam was riding his donkey to Moab, and two of his servants were with him. But God was angry that Balaam had gone, so one of the Lord's angels stood in the road to stop him. When Balaam's donkey saw the angel standing there with a sword, it walked off the road and into an open field. Balaam had to beat the donkey to get it back on the road.<

 

 

 

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Judges 11:34,35
JEPHTAH’S DAUGHTER
>When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, the first one to meet him was his daughter. She was playing a tambourine and dancing to celebrate his victory, and she was his only child. “Oh!” Jephthah cried. Then he tore his clothes in sorrow and said to his daughter, “I made a sacred promise to the Lord, and I must keep it. Your coming out to meet me has broken my heart.”<  

 

 

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1 Samuel 17:48-50
DAVID KILLS GOLIATH
>When Goliath started forward, David ran toward him. He put a rock in his sling and swung the sling around by its straps. When he let go of one strap, the rock flew out and hit Goliath on the forehead. It cracked his skull, and he fell facedown on the ground. David defeated Goliath with a sling and a rock. He killed him without even using a sword.<

 

 

 43

2 Samuel 18:9-15
JOAB KILLS ABSALOM
>Absalom was riding his mule under a huge tree when his head caught in the branches. The mule ran off and left Absalom hanging in midair. Some of David's soldiers happened by, and one of them went and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in a tree!” Joab said, “You saw Absalom? Why didn't you kill him? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a special belt.” The man answered, “Even if you paid me a thousand pieces of silver here and now, I still wouldn't touch the king's son. We all heard King David tell you and Abishai and Ittai not to harm Absalom. He always finds out what's going on. I would have been risking my life to kill Absalom, because you would have let me take the blame.” Joab said, “I'm not going to waste any more time on you!” Absalom was still alive, so Joab took three spears and stuck them through Absalom's chest. Ten of Joab's bodyguards came over and finished him off.<

 

 

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1 Kings 13:23,24
AN OLD PROPHET FROM BETHEL
>After the meal the old prophet got a donkey ready, and the prophet from Judah left. Along the way, a lion attacked and killed him.<

 

 

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1 Kings 17:6
ELIJAH AND THE RAVENS
>Ravens brought him bread and meat twice a day, and he drank water from the creek.<

 

 

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Jonah 2:11
JONAH AND THE FISH
>The Lord commanded the fish to vomit up Jonah on the shore. And it did.<

 

 

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Judith 13:6-10
JUDITH KILLS HOLOFERNES
>She walked to the bedpost nearest Holofernes' head and took down his sword that was hanging there. She moved closer to him and grabbed him by his hair, while praying, “Lord God of Israel, give me the strength to do this!” Then she struck him two times in the neck with the sword as hard as she could and cut off his head. She rolled his body off the bed and ripped down the mosquito net from the bedposts. Judith then left the tent and handed the head to her servant, who put it in the bag used for carrying food.<

 

 

 

 

THE NEW TESTAMENT

 

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Luke 1:28-31
AN ANGEL TELLS ABOUT THE BIRTH OF JESUS
>The angel greeted Mary and said, “You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.” Mary was confused by the angel's words and wondered what they meant. Then the angel told Mary, “Don't be afraid! God is pleased with you, and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus.<

 

 

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Matthew 2:9,10
THE WISE MEN
>The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were thrilled and excited to see the star.<

 

 

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Matthew 4:1-3 // Mark 1:13 // Luke 4:3
JESUS AND THE DEVIL
>The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him. After Jesus had gone without eating for forty days and nights, he was very hungry. Then the devil came to him and said, “If you are God's Son, tell these stones to turn into bread.”<

 

 

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Luke 10:38-42
MARTHA AND MARY
>The Lord and his disciples were traveling along and came to a village. When they got there, a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down in front of the Lord and was listening to what he said. Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn't it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!” The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her.”<

 

 

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Matthew 21:12,13 // Mark 11:15 // Luke 19:45,46 // John 2:14,15
JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
>Jesus went into the temple and chased out everyone who was selling or buying. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of the ones who were selling doves. He told them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My house should be called a place of worship.’ But you have turned it into a place where robbers hide.”<

 

 

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Matthew 27:29 // Mark 15:18,19 // John 19:3
SOLDIERS MAKE FUN OF JESUS
>They made fun of Jesus and shouted, “Hey, you king of the Jews!” Then they beat him on the head with a stick. They spit on him and knelt down and pretended to worship him.<

 

 

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Matthew 27:24
THE DEATH SENTENCE
>Pilate saw that there was nothing he could do and that the people were starting to riot. So he took some water and washed his hands in front of them and said, “I won't have anything to do with killing this man. You are the ones doing it!”<

 

 

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Matthew 27:31,32 // Mark 15:21 // Luke 23:26 // John 19:17
A MAN FROM CYRENE
>When the soldiers had finished making fun of Jesus, they took off the robe. They put his own clothes back on him and led him off to be nailed to a cross. On the way they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and they forced him to carry Jesus' cross.<

 

 

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John 19:26,27
JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
>When Jesus saw his mother and his favorite disciple with her, he said to his mother, “This man is now your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “She is now your mother.” From then on, that disciple took her into his own home.<

 

 

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Luke 24:13-16 // Mark 16:12
JESUS APPEARS TO TWO DISCIPLES
>That same day two of Jesus' disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. But they did not know who he was.<

 

 

 

 

Photos

01 Wikipedia
02-04 Wilhelm Joliet
05-30 Ides Dehaene
31-57 Jan Pluis and Wilhelm Joliet after photos from Ides Dehaene

 

I thank Mr. Dehaene, Mr. Pluis, Mr. van Lemmen and my son Norbert for their help.

 

Literature

Jan Pluis:

BIJBELTEGELS - Bijbelse voorstellingen op Nederlandse wandtegels van de 17e tot de 20e eeuw

BIBELFLIESEN - Biblische Darstellungen auf niederländischen Wandfliesen des 17. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert, Münster 1994, ISBN 3-87023-039-8 / ISSN 0944-0542

 

 

 

Links

BIBLIA.net – Bible on the Internet
www.biblija.net

 

Monasterium De Wijngaard
www.Monasteria.org/Nederlands/Monasterium De Wijngaard.htm