In some respects, the Zoutwerf where salt was traded in Mechelen, Belgium is a bit like the Oats Wharf where oats were the main staple of trade. Zoutwerf though kept primarily to salt being shipped and traded. What is so notable about this area of Mechelen is the extremely good shape of the houses along the wharf line that used to belong to fishmongers. They made good money plying their trade and were able to build some classy houses for that period of time.
In the center of the Zoutwerf is one house in particular that captures the attention. Called De Zalm, for the Salmon, this was the former guildhouse of the Fishmongers. The Salmon was built around about 1530 and is very important historically because it is one of the earliest houses in Northern Europe to use a Renaissance decorative theme. Then it was pretty much expected that anything built would be in the fashion of what was "in" – and that would have been medieval Gothic and Italianate forms. This departure from the existing norm was a clear signal that things were starting to change.
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