Pont des Trous

The Pont des Trous is one of the most prestigious vestiges of medieval military architecture in Belgium.



The "Pont des Trous" one of the most prestigious vestiges of medieval military architecture in Belgium. Built in the late 13th century, the bridge was part of the second surrounding wall of Tournai, which featured a total of 18 gates, and protected the course of the river Scheldt through the city. Huge portcullis could be lowered at any time. The name comes from the presence of a lock located nearby and was called ‘Les Trous’ (Holes) by Tournaisiens.

Its construction took close to 50 years: the tower on the left bank (Bourdiel tower) dates from 1281 and the tower of the right bank (Thieulerie tower) was completed in 1304. The construction of the arches took another 25 years.

In 1948 the water gate was raised by 2.40 in order to facilitate the passage of boats on the river. But almost 70 years later, the problem seems to arise again in order to allow larger ships to pass through the bridge. The authorities have outlined several plans to have this bridge replaced with a new version (broadening of the main arch) or two different bypasses (small or the whole city).