The Lakenhalle (Cloth Hall) looks okay from a distance, but if you take a closer look, you will see it needs to be restored. The belfry tower in particular is in a bad state: the wooden structure is suffering from the wet conditions. Both the inside and the outside will be refurbished: the facade, the niches and their small statuettes. The works will cost an estimated 15.5 million euros.
The orginal Cloth Hall went back to the Middle Ages: construction works started in 1230 with the building of the belfry tower starting 20 years later. It showed the richness and the high position of the city in the 13th century, thanks to the cloth industry.
However, Ieper was completely destroyed in the First World War. The British wanted to leave the ruins intact as a symbol for the future, but the Ieper residents were determined to rebuild their city, using old drawings. The rebuilding of the big Lakenhalle started in 1928 and would take many years, until the sixties.
The structure now needs an update. The top of the belfry tower will be removed to be replaced at a later stage. The two museums, the Yper Museum and the In Flanders Fields museum will remain open.