If you venture down an obscure alleyway along the back of Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk, into a cobbled courtyard or across a small bridge, you’ll find a mansion that once belonged to the Van Brugghe family: the Gruunthuse.
In Medieval times, while the rest of Bruge busily worked in the textile industry, the Van Brugghes focused their efforts on the beer industry and the selling of Gruut. Gruut is a mixture of spices used to make beer. Needless to say, this made the Van Brugghes one of the richest families in Bruges.
The mansion passed to a variety of wealthy owners over the centuries and was finally acquired by the City of Bruge in 1955 and converted to a museum.
In the gallery is the equestrian statue of one such owner, Lodewijk van Gruuthuse (a.k.a. Lewis de Bruges, and/or Loys), found on the entrance to Gruuthuse. Under his statue (not seen) in icing like script, it says Plus est en Vous. Lewis was a trusted adviser to Charles the Bold, close friend to Mary of Burgundy, and eventually chamberlain to Philip the Handsome.
In the back of the mansion is a private chapel connected to Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk that gives an excellent view of the tomb of Mary of Burgundy.