VZW ’t Hamerken was founded on 6 July 1988 by a number of enthusiastic inhabitants of Bruges with the specific purpose of investigating the brewing history of their native city.
Before the First World War, there were no fewer than 31 breweries in Bruges city centre.
The aim of the association is to collect information, documents, photographs and objects relating to this rich brewing past: not only about the breweries and the brewers, but also about the pubs and cafés where the beer was drunk and about the popular traditions and usages associated with the drinking of beer.
When the old malting buildings in the former ’t Hamerken malting house and brewery were made available to the association, this seemed like the ideal place to set up a museum to display their findings. However, at the beginning of 2005 the museum was required to close its doors and seek new premises. It most important exhibits and displays found a new home in a large room in the ‘De Halve Maan’ brewery – a room that was renamed ‘Estaminet ’t Hamerken’: the Hamerken Pub.