Mechelen has a rich history, and for a short period in the 16th century (under Charles V's guardian and governess Margaret of Austria), the city dominated entire Flanders and Holland as the capital of the Netherlands. Mechelen has the second largest number of protected buildings in Flanders.
Its [[begijnhof/Engels|beguinage]], [[Sint-Romboutskathedraal|St. Rumbold's Cathedral]], and its
Giant parade are part of UNESCO world heritage. The [[Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk|Church of Our Lady across the river Dijle]] and [[Sint-Janskerk|St. John's Church]] each shows a painting from Pieter Paul Rubens.
The inhabitants's sobriquet is ''[[Maneblussers]]'' ("extinguishers of the moon").