Tienen used to be called the white town because of its whitewashed facades but nowdays the name is mostly justified by a number of white towers. From afar one sees four: from west to east there is the new water tower, the churches of Notre Dame and Saint Germain and the cooling towers of the sugar refinery.
Of these towers the oldest is that of the Romanesque Saint Germain. Its base dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries. The church is also situated in a very privileged location: on highest point of the Veemarkt, among other ways accessible through two steep flights of stairs, with a sober carillon corner at the Apostelenhof.
The church is also an example of the region's building stones, especially the Overlaar quartzite. The tower (65 metres) and its carillon (54 bells) can occasionally be visited. UNESCO has recognised the tower as a world heritage site. In the church, you will find the organist at work. This church has been honoured with the oldest church organ of the Low Countries.
Following disasters in 1536 and 1635, some parts were rebuilt in the gothic style. In due time, some parts of the church began to lean. The choir has been lifted seven degrees from the axis of the nave and the steeple subsided after an explosion in town.
In 2003, three murals by Yvan Struys were inaugurated.