Ghent Town Hall: View of the Late Gothic corner facade and Renaissance addition
The exterior of the finished Gothic portion is remarkable for its luxuriant sculptural decoration, concentrated around niches that were intended for statues of the counts and countesses of Flanders. The 19 small sculptures that now stand there, however, are the result of a wave of neo-Gothicism ca. 1900.
The Town Hall, which is in the heart of the old city, is bordered by the Hoogpoort, Botermarkt, Poeljemarkt and Stadhuissteeg. The foundation stone of the new building (a simple stone building, with step gables), which lies in the centre of the present-day complex, was laid on 4 July 1482. The next major building initiative took place in 1517 when Rombout Keldermans II and Domien de Waghemakere (d 1542) were approached for plans for a completely new structure. The Late Gothic façade along the Hoogpoort was extended in 1580-1582 by a sharply contrasting piece of Renaissance architecture. The so-called Bollaertskamer, designed by Joos Rooman (fl 1552-1581), exhibits a remarkable superimposition of three different colonnades in the French and Italian manners. In the 17th and 18th centuries smaller projects were carried out, mostly on the west side of the complex.