St John's Church

The parish where St John's Church is located was one of the richest parishes in Mechelen because the members of the Great Council lived round about. The Great Council was the highest court of law in the Low Countries from the fifteenth century (first under the name Parliament of Mechelen) and it remained in existence until the French Revolution.

Those elected to the Council had studied law at university and were appointed by the sovereign. So the parish was not short of money. This is reflected in the wealth of treasures housed in St John's Church. Built in above the altar is Peter Paul Rubens' famous baroque triptych. The beautifully executed panel in the middle depicts 'The adoration of the three wise men'. Behind the side panels is a mechanism for turning the paintings at regular intervals so that all the scenes can be admired.

The churchwardens' benches are particularly noteworthy because of the exquisite woodcarving. This is where the wealthy sponsors of the parish sat. The richest members of the Great Council were also responsible for building on the Sacrament Chapel in 1548. The chapel is as big as the original chancel and houses the tomb of the man who commissioned it (Lambert de Briaerde, the then Chairman of the Great Council) and his wife.

In 2008 the Flemish Heritage Institute chanced upon some fourteenth-century wall paintings behind the organ-case, on the first floor of the tower of St John's Church. These are not fragments, but two large artworks depicting St Christopher and St George.


Opening hours

Monday closed
Tuesday 13:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 13:00 - 17:00
Thursday 13:00 - 17:00
Friday 13:00 - 17:00
Saturday 13:00 - 17:00
Sunday 13:00 - 17:00

Closing days:

  • January 1st
  • December 24
  • 25th of December
  • December 31

Extra information: Celebration every Saturday at 4 pm





Partly accessible by wheelchair  

For more information about access, feel free to contact the relevant venue.


T +32 15 29 40 32


Sint-Janskerkhof 1, 2800 Mechelen

Click on the blue place marker for more information.