Knights of the Golden Fleece: a fantastic myth unveiled

07 March 2024 - 02 June 2024

In the early Renaissance city palace and now museum Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen, recently rebuilt and renovated in 2020, an exhibition dedicated to the exclusive Burgundian knighthood of the Golden Fleece will run until June 2, 2024. Enjoy the splendor.

Duke of Burgundy Philip the Good established the infamous knighthood of the Golden Fleece on January 10, 1430, on the occasion of his marriage to Isabella of Portugal. He did that for political reasons. He wanted to secure more loyal noblemen on and off the battlefield with privileges. They also had to defend faith and the Church. From the outset, 23 knights from Flanders, Burgundy and Valois were in principle members of the order for the rest of their lives, headed by the duke himself. The Golden Fleece is symbolized by a golden ram's fleece, which the high nobles had to wear on a necklace. The symbol refers to the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts. The order still exists. She stands for power, elitist thinking, religion and political loyalty.
Master storyteller Bart Van Loo introduces the exhibition in an audio and light story. You feel like a spectator at a colorful parade of the so-called Fleece Knights in 1491, one of the largest and most important festivities that Mechelen has ever experienced. For the first time since their restoration, you can also see the 29 15th-century coats of arms, on which their blazon is painted, up close. The Order, a distant predecessor of the EU?