The collegial church of Saint Martin is an enormous Gothic edifice in the Brabant style. It is known for the homogeneity of its style, even though its construction lasted for 180 years (1480-1660).
It reflects the organisation of the society of bygone days, with its corporations, its brotherhoods, etc. … The corporation of the Butchers, the Bakers, the Brewers, etc. had their chapel erected there. Nowadays, 21 chapels and their magnificently decorated altars can be admired there. In the chapel of the Brewers you will find a painting by Rubens represents Saint Roch (1623).
A copper line, dating from 1840, indicates the meridian. A lens in the stained glass window of Saint Martin makes the light reach the line of copper, indicating the hour of the day in order to be able to set watches and clocks.
In the choir, a beautiful high altar carved by Janssens (1775) and a splendid tabernacle produced by J. Duquesnoy and his two sons (1605). In the right transept, the superb set of works carved and painted in the 18th centuries also draws the eye.
In the fourth chapel one can admire the tombstone of Dirk Martens, “d’eerste letterdruckere van duitschland, vrankeryke en desen nederlanden” (the first printer of Germany, France and these Low Countries). In the chapel of the Rosary, the eye is drawn to the painted vaults in 1497.
In the winter chapel (entered through the third chapel) you can admire a small triptych of ‘The Adoration of the Magi’.