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Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

province
of
West Flanders ) , settlement_type = Province of Belgium , image_flag = Flag of West Flanders.svg , flag_size = , image_shield = Wapen van West-Vlaanderen.svg , shield_size = , image_map ...
in the
Flemish Region The Flemish Region ( nl, Vlaams Gewest, ; french: Région flamande; german: Flämische Region), usually simply referred to as Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * D ...
of
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
, in the northwest of the country, and the seventh-largest city of the country by population. The area of the whole city amounts to more than 13,840 hectares (138.4 km2; 53.44 sq miles), including 1,075 hectares off the coast, at
Zeebrugge Zeebrugge (, from: ''Brugge aan zee'' meaning "Bruges at Sea", french: Zeebruges) is a village on the coast of Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Wes ...
(from ''Brugge aan zee'', meaning "Bruges by the Sea"). The historic city centre is a prominent
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
of
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
. It is oval in shape and about 430 hectares in size. The city's total population is 117,073 (1 January 2008),Statistics Belgium; ''Population de droit par commune au 1 janvier 2008'' (excel-file)
Population of all municipalities in Belgium, as of 1 January 2008. Retrieved on 19 October 2008.
of whom around 20,000 live in the city centre. The
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the cul ...

metropolitan area
, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of and has a total of 255,844 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008.Statistics Belgium; ''De Belgische Stadsgewesten 2001'' (pdf-file)
Definitions of metropolitan areas in Belgium. The metropolitan area of Bruges is divided into three levels. First, the central agglomeration (''agglomeratie''), which in this case is Bruges municipality, with 117,073 inhabitants (1 January 2008). Adding the closest surroundings (''banlieue'') gives a total of 166,502. And, including the outer commuter zone (''forensenwoonzone'') the population is 255,844. Retrieved on 19 October 2008.
Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
and
St Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...
, it is sometimes referred to as the
Venice of the North The following is an incomplete list of settlements nicknamed Venice of the North. The term ''Venice of the North'' refers to various cities in Northern Europe Northern Europe is a loosely defined Geography, geographical and cultural region in Eu ...
. Bruges has a significant economic importance, thanks to its
port A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime Southeast Asia * The Maritimes, the Canadian provinces of ...

port
, and was once one of the world's chief commercial cities. Bruges is well known as the seat of the
College of Europe The College of Europe (french: Collège d'Europe) is a postgraduate institute of European studies with its main campus in Bruges, Belgium, and a smaller campus in Warsaw, Poland. The College of Europe in Bruges was founded in 1949 by leading h ...

College of Europe
, a university institute for European studies.


Etymology of Bruges

The place is first mentioned in records as either ''Bruggas'', ''Brvggas'', and ''Brvccia'' in AD 840–875. Afterwards, it appears as ''Bruciam'' and ''Bruociam'' (892); as ''Brutgis uico'' (late 9th century)'';'' as ''in portu Bruggensi'' (c. 1010); as ''Bruggis'' (1012); as ''Bricge'' in the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals Annals ( la, annāles, from , "year") are a concise historical History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the stud ...
(1037); as ''Brugensis'' (1046); as ''Brycge'' in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (1049–1052); as ''Brugias'' (1072); as ''Bruges'' (1080–1085); as ''Bruggas'' (c. 1084); as ''Brugis'' (1089); and as ''Brugge'' (1116). The name probably derives from the
Old Dutch In linguistics, Old Dutch or Old Low Franconian is the set of Franconian dialects (i.e. dialects that evolved from Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical ...

Old Dutch
for "bridge":
''brugga''
''brugga''
. Also compare
Middle Dutch Middle Dutch is a collective name for a number of closely related West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the North German ...
''brucge, brugge'' (or ''brugghe'', ''brigghe'', ''bregghe'', ''brogghe''), and modern Dutch ''bruggehoofd'' ("bridgehead") and ''brug'' ("bridge"). The form ''brugghe'' would be a southern Dutch variant. The Dutch word and the English "bridge" both derive from
Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new ...
''*brugjō-''.


History


Origins

Bruges was a location of coastal settlement during prehistory. This Bronze Age and Iron Age settlement is unrelated to medieval city development. In the Bruges area, the first fortifications were built after
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
's conquest of the
Menapii Image:GallischeHoeve.jpg, 300px, Reconstruction of a Menapian dwelling at Destelbergen. The Menapii were a Belgae, Belgic tribe dwelling near the North Sea, around present-day Cassel, Nord, Cassel, during the La Tène culture, Iron Age and the Roma ...
in the first century BC, to protect the coastal area against pirates. The
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
took over the whole region from the
Gallo-Romans The term "Gallo-Roman" describes the Romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for st ...
around the 4th century and administered it as the ''
Pagus A ''pagus'' (plural ''pagi'') was a Roman administrative term designating a rural subdivision of a tribal territory, which included individual farms, villages ('' vici''), and strongholds (''oppida An ''oppidum'' (plural ''oppida'') is a large ...
Flandrensis''. The
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Pro ...

Viking
incursions of the ninth century prompted Count Baldwin I of
Flanders Flanders (, ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * ...
to reinforce the Roman fortifications; trade soon resumed with England and
Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Province * Sami District, Gambia * Sami, Cephalonia, a municipality in Greece * Sami (ancient city), in Elis, Greece * Sa ...

Scandinavia
. Early medieval habitation starts in the 9th and 10th century on the Burgh terrain, probably with a fortified settlement and church.


Golden age (12th to 15th centuries)

Bruges became important due to the tidal inlet that was crucial to local commerce, This inlet was then known as the "Golden Inlet". Bruges received its
city charterA city charter or town charter (generically, municipal charter) is a legal document (''charter A charter is the grant of authority or rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that ...
on 27 July 1128, and new walls and canals were built. In 1089 Bruges became the capital of the
County of Flanders The County of Flanders ( nl, Graafschap Vlaanderen; vls, Groafschap Vloandern; french: Comté de Flandre) was a historic territory in the Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays- ...
. Since about 1050, gradual silting had caused the city to lose its direct access to the sea. A storm in 1134, however, re-established this access, through the creation of a natural channel at the
Zwin The Zwin is a nature reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area) is a protected area Protecte ...

Zwin
. The new sea arm stretched all the way to
Damme Damme () is a municipality located in the Belgium, Belgian province of West Flanders, six kilometres northeast of Brugge (Bruges). The municipality comprises the city of Damme proper and the villages of Hoeke, Lapscheure, Moerkerke, Oostkerke (Da ...

Damme
, a city that became the commercial outpost for Bruges.


Trade

Bruges had a strategic location at the crossroads of the northern
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
trade and the southern trade routes. Bruges was already included in the circuit of the Flemish and French cloth fairs at the beginning of the 13th century, but when the old system of fairs broke down the entrepreneurs of Bruges innovated. They developed, or borrowed from Italy, new forms of merchant capitalism, whereby several merchants would share the risks and profits and pool their knowledge of markets. They employed new forms of economic exchange, including bills of exchange (i.e. promissory notes) and letters of credit. The city eagerly welcomed foreign traders, most notably the Portuguese traders selling pepper and other spices. With the reawakening of town life in the twelfth century, a wool market, a woollens weaving industry, and the market for cloth all profited from the shelter of city walls, where surpluses could be safely accumulated under the patronage of the
counts of Flanders Image:Coat of Arms of the Count of Flanders (according to the Gelre Armorial).svg, 150px, Coat of arms of the counts of Flanders. The count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders, beginning in the 9th century. The title ...
. The city's entrepreneurs reached out to make economic colonies of England and Scotland's wool-producing districts. English contacts brought Normandy grain and Gascon wines.
Hanse The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Au ...
atic ships filled the harbor, which had to be expanded beyond
Damme Damme () is a municipality located in the Belgium, Belgian province of West Flanders, six kilometres northeast of Brugge (Bruges). The municipality comprises the city of Damme proper and the villages of Hoeke, Lapscheure, Moerkerke, Oostkerke (Da ...

Damme
to
Sluys Sluis (; zea, label=Zeelandic Zeelandic ( zea, Zeêuws; nl, Zeeuws; vls, Zêeuws) is a group of Friso-Franconian language varieties spoken in the southwestern parts of the Netherlands. It is currently considered a Low Franconian dialect of ...
to accommodate the new cog-ships. In 1277, the first merchant fleet from the
Republic of Genoa The Republic of Genoa ( lij, Repúbrica de Zêna ; it, Repubblica di Genova; la, Res Publica Ianuensis) was a medieval and early modern maritime republic The maritime republics ( it, repubbliche marinare), also called merchant republics ( it ...
appeared in the port of Bruges, first of the merchant colony that made Bruges the main link to the trade of the Mediterranean. This development opened not only the trade in spices from the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, but also advanced commercial and financial techniques and a flood of capital that soon took over the banking of Bruges. The building that the Genoese Republic housed its commercial representation in the city still survives, now housing the
Frietmuseum The Frietmuseum (Fries museum) is a museum in Bruges, Belgium, which is devoted to the history of potatoes and the production of Belgian fries#Belgium, Belgian fries. It describes itself as "the first and only museum dedicated to potato fries". Hi ...
. The Bourse opened in 1309 (most likely the first
stock exchange A stock exchange, securities exchange, or bourse is an exchange Exchange may refer to: Places United States * Exchange, Indiana Exchange is an Unincorporated area, unincorporated community in Green Township, Morgan County, Indiana, Green To ...
in the world) and developed into the most sophisticated money market of the Low Countries in the 14th century. By the time Venetian galleys first appeared, in 1314, they were latecomers. Numerous foreign merchants were welcomed in Bruges, such as the Castilian wool merchants who first arrived in the 13th century. After the Castilian wool monopoly ended, the Basques, many hailing from
Bilbao ) , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = 275 px , map_caption = Interactive map outlining Bilbao , pushpin_map = Spain Basque Country#Spain#Europe , pushpin_map_caption ...

Bilbao
(Biscay), thrived as merchants (wool, iron commodities, etc.) and established their own commercial consulate in Bruges by the mid-15th century. The foreign merchants expanded the city's trading zones. They maintained separate communities governed by their own laws until the economic collapse after 1700. Such wealth gave rise to social upheavals, which were for the most part harshly contained by the militia. In 1302, however, after the Bruges Matins (the nighttime massacre of the French garrison in Bruges by the members of the local
Flemish Flemish (''Vlaams'') is a Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, 1991, p. 321. (Calling i ...
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
on 18 May 1302), the population joined forces with the
Count of Flanders Image:Coat of Arms of the Count of Flanders (according to the Gelre Armorial).svg, 150px, Coat of arms of the counts of Flanders. The count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders, beginning in the 9th century. The title ...
against the French, culminating in the victory at the
Battle of the Golden Spurs The Battle of the Golden Spurs ( nl, region=BE, Guldensporenslag, label=Flemish; french: Bataille des éperons d'or) was a military confrontation between the royal army of Kingdom of France, France and rebellious forces of the County of Flande ...

Battle of the Golden Spurs
, fought near
Kortrijk Kortrijk ( , ; vls, Kortryk or ''Kortrik''; french: Courtrai ; la, Cortoriacum), sometimes known in English as Courtrai or Courtray ( ), is a Belgian City status in Belgium, city and Municipalities in Belgium, municipality in the Flemish Regio ...
on 11 July. The statue of
Jan Breydel Jan Breydel (* ca. 1264; † between 1328 and 1333) is credited with leading the Bruges Matins (history), Bruges Matins (''Brugse Metten''), a violent uprising against Philip IV of France, Philip the Fair. He is said to have played a major role in ...
and
Pieter de Coninck At the end of the 14th century, Bruges became one of the Four Members, along with Franc of Bruges,
Ghent Ghent ( ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Du ...

Ghent
and
Ypres Ypres ( , ; nl, Ieper ) is a Belgian municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional ...

Ypres
. Together they formed a parliament; however, they frequently quarrelled amongst themselves. In the 15th century,
Philip the Good Philip III (french: Philippe le Bon; nl, Filips de Goede; 31 July 1396 – 15 June 1467) was Duke of Burgundy Duke of Burgundy (french: duc de Bourgogne) was a title used by the rulers of the Duchy of Burgundy The Duchy of Burgundy (; la, ...
, Duke of
Burgundy Burgundy (; french: link=no, Bourgogne ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organizati ...

Burgundy
, set up court in Bruges, as well as
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
and
Lille Lille ( , ; nl, Rijsel ; pcd, Lile; vls, Rysel) is a city in the northern part of France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental ...

Lille
, attracting a number of artists, bankers, and other prominent personalities from all over Europe. The weavers and spinners of Bruges were thought to be the best in the world, and the population of Bruges grew to at least 125,000 and perhaps up to 200,000 inhabitants at this time around 1400 AD. The new oil-painting techniques of the Flemish school gained world renown. The first book in English ever printed was published in Bruges by
William Caxton William Caxton ( 1422 – 1491) was an English merchant A merchant is a person who trades in commodities In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production ...
. This is also when
Edward IV Edward IV (28 April 1442 – 9 April 1483) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the from about 8 ...
and
Richard III of England Richard III (2 October 145222 August 1485) was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of the from about 886, ...

Richard III of England
spent time in exile here.


Decline after 1500

Starting around 1500, the Zwin channel, (the Golden Inlet) which had given the city its prosperity, began silting up and the Golden Era ended. The city soon fell behind
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
as the economic flagship of the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, refers to a coastal lowland region in Northwestern Europe ...
. During the 17th century, the
lace Lace is a delicate fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibre Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural or man-m ...

lace
industry took off, and various efforts to bring back the glorious past were made. During the 1650s, the city was the base for
Charles II of England Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary m ...

Charles II of England
and his court in exile. The maritime infrastructure was modernized, and new connections with the sea were built, but without much success, as Antwerp became increasingly dominant. Bruges became impoverished and gradually faded in importance; its population dwindling from 200,000 to 50,000 by 1900. The symbolist novelist George Rodenbach even made the sleepy city into a character in his novel '' Bruges-la-Morte'', meaning "Bruges-the-dead", which was adapted into
Erich Wolfgang Korngold Erich Wolfgang Korngold (May 29, 1897November 29, 1957) was an Austrian-born American composer and conductor. A child prodigy, he became one of the most important and influential composers in Hollywood history. He was a noted pianist and compos ...
's opera, ''
Die tote Stadt ' (German for ''The Dead City''), Op. 12, is an opera in three acts by Erich Wolfgang Korngold set to a libretto by Paul Schott, a collective pseudonym for the composer and his father, Julius Korngold. It is based on the 1892 novel ''Bruges-la-Morte ...
'' (The Dead City).


19th century and later: revival

In the last half of the 19th century, Bruges became one of the world's first tourist destinations attracting wealthy British and French tourists. By 1909 it had in operation an association called 'Bruges Forward: Society to Improve Tourism.' In
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
German forces occupied Bruges but the city suffered virtually no damage and was liberated on 19 October 1918 by the Allies. From 1940 in
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
the city again was occupied by the Germans and again spared destruction. On 12 September 1944 it was liberated by the 12th Manitoba Dragoons' Canadian troops. The liberation of the city was facilitated by the bridge, now known as Canada Bridge connecting the outer municipalities with the city centre. After 1965, the original medieval city experienced a "renaissance". Restorations of residential and commercial structures, historic monuments, and churches generated a surge in tourism and economic activity in the ancient downtown area. International tourism has boomed, and new efforts resulted in Bruges being designated
European Capital of Culture A European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as p ...

European Capital of Culture
in 2002. It attracts some eight million tourists annually. The
port of Zeebrugge 250px, Satellite image of Bruges and the Port The Port of Zeebrugge (also referred to as the Port of Bruges or Bruges Seaport) is a large container, bulk cargo, new vehicles and passenger ferry terminal port on the North Sea The North Sea ...
was built in 1907. The Germans used it for their
U-boat U-boats were naval submarines operated by Germany, particularly in the First First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most importa ...

U-boat
s in World War I. It was greatly expanded in the 1970s and early 1980s and has become one of Europe's most important and modern ports.


Geography

The
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...
comprises: * The historic city centre of Bruges, and
Sint-Pieters Sint-Pieters is a subu ...
(I) *
Koolkerke Koolkerke is small district of Bruges in the province of West Flanders in Belgium. Although Roman remains have been found, the first written mention of the village Koolkerke dates from the 12th century. The name "Coolkercke" was first mentioned i ...
(II) *
Sint-Andries Sint-Andries () is a suburb of Bruges in the province of West Flanders in Belgium. The Jan Breydel Stadium, where the football (soccer), football teams Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge play, is situated in Sint-Andries. There are also a lot of small ...
(III) *
Sint-Michiels Sint-Michiels (French:''Saint-Michel-lez-Bruges'') is a suburb of Bruges, in the province of West Flanders, Belgium. The amusement park Boudewijn Seapark with the dolphinarium is situated in Sint-Michiels. Bus & Car In 1959 the American long dis ...
(IV) * (V) *
Sint-Kruis Sint-Kruis ( vls, Sinte-Kruus) is a suburb of Bruges in the province of West Flanders in Belgium. Gallery File:Sint-Kruis - Sint-Franciscus van Assisiëkerk 1.jpg, Church of Saint Francis of Assisi File:Maleslot.jpg, Male Castle External linksb ...
(VI) * Dudzele (VII) * Lissewege (with
Zeebrugge Zeebrugge (, from: ''Brugge aan zee'' meaning "Bruges at Sea", french: Zeebruges) is a village on the coast of Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Wes ...
and Zwankendamme) (VIII)


Climate

Bruges has an
oceanic climate An oceanic climate, also known as a maritime climate or marine climate, is the Köppen classification of climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the deg ...
( Köppen ''Cfb'').


Landmarks, arts, and culture

Bruges has most of its
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
architecture intact, making it one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. The "Historic Centre of Bruges" has been a
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
since 2000. Many of its medieval buildings are notable, including the Church of Our Lady, whose brick
spire A spire is a tall, slender, pointed structure on top of a roof or tower, especially at the summit of church steeple In architecture File:Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (ad ...

spire
reaches , making it the world's second-highest brick tower/building. The sculpture ''
Madonna and Child File:Virgin salus populi romani.jpg, The ''Salus Populi Romani'' icon, overpainted in the 13th century, but going back to an underlying original dated to the 5th or 6th century. A Madonna () is a representation of Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary, ...
'', which can be seen in the transept, is believed to be the only of
Michelangelo Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (; 6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), known simply as Michelangelo (), was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance In art history, the High Renaissance was ...

Michelangelo
's sculptures to have left
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
within his lifetime. Bruges' most famous landmark is the
Belfry of Bruges Belfry of Bruges The Belfry of Bruges ( nl, Belfort van Brugge) is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpreta ...

Belfry of Bruges
, a 13th-century
belfryBelfry may refer to: In architecture * Belfry (architecture), a structure enclosing bells * Bell tower ** Bell tower (wat), a Thai architectural structure * Belfry, a type of medieval siege tower * Belfries of Belgium and France, a UNESCO World He ...
housing a municipal
carillon A carillon ( or ; ) is a Pitched percussion instrument, pitched percussion idiophone that is played with a keyboard instrument, keyboard and consists of at least 23 bellfounding, cast bell metal, bronze bells in fixed suspension and tuned ...

carillon
comprising 47 bells. The Belfry of Bruges, independent of the previously mentioned UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bruges, is included on the World Heritage Site of
Belfries of Belgium and FranceBelfry may refer to: In architecture * Belfry (architecture) The belfry is a structure enclosing bells for ringing as part of a building, usually as part of a bell tower or steeple. It can also refer to the entire tower or building, particula ...
. The city still employs a full-time carillonneur, who gives free concerts on a regular basis. In addition to the "Historic Centre of Bruges" and the tower included in the "Belfries of Belgium and France", Bruges is also home to a third UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Ten Wijngaerde Béguinage, a
beguinage A beguinage, from the French term ''béguinage'', is an architectural complex which was created to house beguine The Beguines and the Beghards were Christian lay religious order A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizatio ...

beguinage
built in the 13th-century, is included in the World Heritage Site of "Flemish Béguinages".


Craft

Bruges is known for its
lace Lace is a delicate fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibre Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural or man-m ...

lace
, a textile technique. Moreover, the city and its famous lace would go on to inspire the '' Thread Routes'' film series, the second episode of which, shot in 2011, was partly set in Bruges. Several beers are named after the city, such as ''Brugge Blond'', ''Brugge Tripel'', ''Brugs'', ''Brugse Babbelaar'', ''Brugse Straffe Hendrik,'' and ''Brugse Zot''. However, only the latter two—''Brugse Zot'' and ''Brugse Straffe Hendrik—''are brewed in the city itself, in the De Halve Maan, De Halve Maan Brewery.


Entertainment

* Aquariustheater * Boudewijn Seapark (an amusement park in
Sint-Michiels Sint-Michiels (French:''Saint-Michel-lez-Bruges'') is a suburb of Bruges, in the province of West Flanders, Belgium. The amusement park Boudewijn Seapark with the dolphinarium is situated in Sint-Michiels. Bus & Car In 1959 the American long dis ...
) * Biekorf * Cinema Liberty * Cinema Lumière (alternative movies) * Concertgebouw, Bruges ("Concert Building") * De Dijk * De Werf * Het Entrepot * Joseph Ryelandtzaal * Kinepolis Bruges * Magdalenazaal * Sirkeltheater * Studio Hall


Festivals


Museums and historic sites (non-religious)

Bruges is home to many museums of various kinds. Its art museums include the Arents House, as well as the Groeningemuseum, which has an extensive collection of medieval and early modern art, including a notable collection of Flemish Primitives. Various celebrated painters, such as Hans Memling and Jan van Eyck, lived and worked in Bruges. The preserved old city gateways: the ''Kruispoort'', the ''Gentpoort'', the ''Smedenpoort'' and the ''Ezelpoort''. The ''Dampoort (Bruges), Dampoort'', the ''Katelijnepoort'' and the ''Boeveriepoort'' are gone. The Old St. John's Hospital (Hans Memling museum) and Our Lady of the Potteries are Hospital museums. Most notably, the city is known for ''Bruggemuseum'' ("Bruges Museum"), the general name for a group of 11 different historical museums in the city, including: * Gruuthusemuseum, a museum for the house of Louis de Gruuthuse. * Church of Our Lady * Archaeological Museum * Gentpoort * Belfry of Bruges, Belfry * Bruges City Hall, City Hall on the '' square'' * ''Provinciaal Hof'' (Provincial Court) * Manor of the Brugse Vrije * Museum of Folklore * Guido Gezelle Museum * Koelewei (Cool Meadow) Mill * Sint-Janshuis (St. John's House) Mill Bruges' non-municipal museums include the Brewery Museum, ''Hof Bladelin,'' Choco-Story (Bruges), Choco-Story (chocolate museum), ''Lumina Domestica'' (lamp museum), Museum-Gallery Xpo: Salvador Dalí, Diamond Museum,
Frietmuseum The Frietmuseum (Fries museum) is a museum in Bruges, Belgium, which is devoted to the history of potatoes and the production of Belgian fries#Belgium, Belgian fries. It describes itself as "the first and only museum dedicated to potato fries". Hi ...
(museum dedicated to Belgian fries), Historium (museum of the medieval history of Bruges), Lace centre, St. George's Archers Guild, St. Sebastian's Archers’ Guild, St. Trudo Abbey, and the Public Observatory Beisbroek.


Religious sites and landmarks

Bruges, the patron saint of which is Andrew the Apostle, is also known for its religious landmarks. The Basilica of the Holy Blood ( nl, Heilig-Bloedbasiliek), in particular, is the relic of the Blood of Christ, Holy Blood, which was brought to the city after the Second Crusade by Thierry of Alsace, and is paraded every year through the streets of the city. More than 1,600 inhabitants take part in this mile-long religious Procession of the Holy Blood, procession, many dressed as medieval knights or crusaders. Other religious landmarks and museums include the Church of Our Lady, English Convent, Jerusalem Church, Saint Salvator's Cathedral, St. Trudo's Abbey, Bruges, St. Trudo's Abbey, Ten Wijngaerde (Bruges Béguinage), Ten Wijngaerde Béguinage ( nl, Begijnhof), and Ter Doest Abbey ( nl, Abdij Ter Doest) in Lissewege. File:SANGUIS BRUGENSIS14 44.JPG, The annual procession of the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ, World Heritage Site, UNESCO heritage File:Brujas09.JPG, St. Salvator's Cathedral File:Church Of Our Lady Bruges.jpg, alt=The Church of Our Lady (Bruges), Church of Our Lady, Bruges, The Church of Our Lady (Bruges).


Gallery

File:Along the Steenhouwers Canal.jpg, Steenhouwers Canal with the Belfry of Bruges, Belfry and spires of the Stadhuis File:OLVBrugge.jpg, The ''Dijver'' canal and the tower of the Church of Our Lady. File:Brugge Markt1.jpg, The ''Provinciaal Hof''. File:Brugge - Kruispoort 2.jpg, The ''Kruispoort''. File:Brugge Dweerstraat.jpg, The ''Dweersstraat''. File:00 Bruges JPG5.jpg, Ten Wijngaerde (Bruges Béguinage), The Béguinage. File:Brugge-Canal.jpg, The ''Groenerei'' (canal). File:Brugge-CanalRozenhoedkaai.JPG, View from the ''Rozenhoedkaai''. File:Bruges canal corner.jpg, An aerial view over one of Bruges' canals. File:Roofs of Bruges 01.jpg, Roofs of old houses in the city centre. File:Bruges De Burg.JPG, The ''Burg'' square with the City Hall. File:Brugge Vismarkt R04.jpg, The Fish Market. File:Brugge, Sint Salvatorskathedraal foto1 in straatbeeld 2007-08-05 09.32.JPG, The ''Steenstraat'' with St. Salvator's Cathedral in the background. File:Brugge, straatzicht op de Markt4 2007-08-05 10.00.JPG, Part of the ''Markt (Bruges), Markt'' (market square). File:Bonne Chiere 4.jpg, The Bonne-Chière windmill. File:Brugges Dijver.JPG, Rozenhoedkaai File:Canal - Brugge, Belgium - November 3, 2010 09.jpg, Spiegelrei canal File:Brugge - Saaihalle en beurs.jpg, The "Huis ter Beurze" (center) of family. File:Voorgevel Huis 't Schaep Brugge.jpg, Facade of the Huis 't Schaep building


Transport


Road

Bruges has motorway connections in all directions: * to Ostend * to
Ghent Ghent ( ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Du ...

Ghent
and
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
* to Veurne and France * to
Kortrijk Kortrijk ( , ; vls, Kortryk or ''Kortrik''; french: Courtrai ; la, Cortoriacum), sometimes known in English as Courtrai or Courtray ( ), is a Belgian City status in Belgium, city and Municipalities in Belgium, municipality in the Flemish Regio ...
and Tournai * to
Zeebrugge Zeebrugge (, from: ''Brugge aan zee'' meaning "Bruges at Sea", french: Zeebruges) is a village on the coast of Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Wes ...
* to
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
Driving within the 'egg', the historical centre enclosed by the main circle of canals in Bruges, is discouraged by traffic management schemes, including a network of one-way streets. The system encourages the use of set routes leading to central car parks and direct exit routes. The car parks are convenient for the central commercial and tourist areas; they are not expensive.


Railway

Brugge main railway station, Bruges' main railway station is the focus of lines to the Belgian coast. It also provides at least hourly trains to all other major cities in Belgium, as well as to
Lille Lille ( , ; nl, Rijsel ; pcd, Lile; vls, Rysel) is a city in the northern part of France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental ...

Lille
, France. Further there are several regional and local trains. The main station is also a stop for the Thalys train Paris–
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
–Ostend. Bus links to the centre are frequent, though the railway station is just a 10-minute walk from the main shopping streets and a 20-minute walk from the Market Square. Plans for a north–south light rail connection through Bruges, from Zeebrugge to Lichtervelde, and a light rail connection between Bruges and Ostend are under construction.


Air

The national Brussels Airport, one hour away by train or car, offers the best connections. The nearest airport is the Ostend-Bruges International Airport in Ostend (around from the city centre of Bruges), but it offers limited passenger transport and connections. Recently there also started a direct bus line from Brussels South Charleroi Airport to Bruges.


Public city transport

Bruges has an extensive web of bus lines, operated by ''De Lijn'', providing access to the city centre and the suburbs (city lines, nl, stadslijnen) and to many towns and villages in the region around the city (regional lines, nl, streeklijnen). In support of the municipal :Road traffic management, traffic management (see "Road" above), free public transport is available for those who park their cars in the main railway station car park.


Cycling

Although a few streets are restricted, no part of Bruges is car-free. Cars are required to yield to pedestrians and cyclists. Plans have long been under way to ban cars altogether from the historic center of Bruges or to restrict traffic much more than it currently is, but these plans have yet to come to fruition. In 2005, signs were changed for the convenience of cyclists, allowing two-way cycle traffic on more streets; however, car traffic has not decreased. Nevertheless, in common with many cities in the region, there are thousands of cyclists in the city of Bruges.


Port

The port of Bruges is
Zeebrugge Zeebrugge (, from: ''Brugge aan zee'' meaning "Bruges at Sea", french: Zeebruges) is a village on the coast of Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Wes ...
(Flemish for Bruges-on-Sea). On 6 March 1987, the British ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise, MS ''Herald of Free Enterprise'' Capsizing, capsized after leaving the port, killing 187 people, in the worst disaster involving a British civilian vessel since 1919.


Sports

Between 1998 and 2016, Bruges hosted the start of the annual ''Tour of Flanders'' cycle race, held in April and one of the biggest sporting events in Belgium. football (soccer), Football is also popular in Bruges; the city hosts two professional football teams, both of which play at the top level (Belgian First Division) Club Brugge K.V. are the current national champions, while the second team, Cercle Brugge K.S.V., was recently promoted to the first tier. Both teams play their home games at the Jan Breydel Stadium (30,000 seats) in
Sint-Andries Sint-Andries () is a suburb of Bruges in the province of West Flanders in Belgium. The Jan Breydel Stadium, where the football (soccer), football teams Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge play, is situated in Sint-Andries. There are also a lot of small ...
. There are plans for a new stadium for Club Brugge with about 45,000 seats in the north of the city, while the city council would renovate and reduce the capacity of the Jan Breydel Stadium for Cercle Brugge. In 2000, Bruges was one of the eight host cities for the UEFA Euro 2000, UEFA European Football Championship, co-hosted by Belgium and its neighbour the Netherlands. In 2021, Bruges, along with Leuven, is to host the UCI Road Racing Championship.


Education

Bruges is an important centre for education in West Flanders. Next to the several common primary and secondary schools, there are a few colleges, like the VIVES ( a fusion of the former KHBO (katholieke hogeschool Brugge Oostende) and the KATHO (katholieke hoge school) or the Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen, HOWEST (''Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen''). Furthermore, the city is home to the
College of Europe The College of Europe (french: Collège d'Europe) is a postgraduate institute of European studies with its main campus in Bruges, Belgium, and a smaller campus in Warsaw, Poland. The College of Europe in Bruges was founded in 1949 by leading h ...

College of Europe
, a prestigious institution of postgraduate studies in European Economics, Law and Politics, and of the UNU-CRIS, United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), a Research and Training Institute of the United Nations University specialising in the comparative study of regional integration.


Town twinning policy

On principle, Bruges has to date never entered into close collaboration with twin towns and sister cities, twin cities. Without denying the usefulness of these schemes for towns with fewer international contacts, the main reason is that Bruges would find it difficult to choose between cities and thinks that it has enough work already with its many international contacts. Also, it was thought in Bruges that twinning was too often an occasion for city authorities and representatives to travel on public expense. This principle resulted, in the 1950s, in Bruges refusing a ''jumelage'' with Nice and other towns, signed by a Belgian ambassador without previous consultation. In the 1970s, a Belgian consul in Oldenburg (city), Oldenburg made the mayor of Bruges sign a ''declaration of friendship'' which he tried to present, in vain, as a ''jumelage''. The twinning between some of the former communes, merged with Bruges in 1971, were discontinued. This does not mean that Bruges would not be interested in cooperation with others, as well in the short term as in the long run, for particular projects. Here follow a few examples. ; Bastogne, Luxembourg (Belgium), Luxembourg, Belgium : After World War II and into the 1970s, Bruges, more specifically the Fire Brigade of Bruges, entertained friendly relations with Bastogne. Each year a free holiday was offered at the seaside in Zeebrugge, to children from the Nuts city. ; Arolsen, Hesse, Germany : From the 1950s until the 1980s, Bruges was the patron of the Belgian Guides Regiment, First Regiment of Chasseurs à Cheval, Horse Guards, quartered in Arolsen. ; Salamanca, Castilla y León, Spain : Both towns having been made
European Capital of Culture A European Capital of Culture is a city designated by the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as p ...

European Capital of Culture
in 2002, Bruges had some exchanges organized with Salamanca. ; Mons, Hainaut (province), Hainaut, Belgium : In 2007, cultural and artistic cooperation between Mons and Bruges was inaugurated. ; Burgos, Castilla y León, Spain : On 29 January 2007, the mayors of Burgos and Bruges signed a declaration of intent about future cooperation on cultural, touristic and economic matters.


Bruges in popular culture


Notable people


Literature

*Hendrik Conscience's ''The Lion of Flanders (novel), The Lion of Flanders, or the Battle of the Golden Spurs'' (1836, nl, De Leeuw van Vlaenderen, of de Slag der Gulden Sporen), is a Historical fiction, historical-fiction novel based on the medieval Franco-Flemish War and the
Battle of the Golden Spurs The Battle of the Golden Spurs ( nl, region=BE, Guldensporenslag, label=Flemish; french: Bataille des éperons d'or) was a military confrontation between the royal army of Kingdom of France, France and rebellious forces of the County of Flande ...

Battle of the Golden Spurs
, both of which historically include Bruges. *Ludwig Bemelmans' children's novel ''The Golden Basket'' (1936) tells the story of a family's visit to Bruges. In the novel, two sisters stay at the Golden Basket hotel in Bruges with their father. On a visit to Bruges cathedral with the innkeeper's son, the sisters meet a dozen little schoolgirls. This would mark the first appearance of Bemelmans' best-known character, Madeline.Gillespie, John Thomas and Corinne J. Naden. 1996. ''The Newbery Companion: Booktalk and Related Materials for Newbery Medal and Honor Books'' (revised ed.)''.'' Libraries Unlimited (2001). *The last chapter of Saul Bellow's 1953 novel ''The Adventures of Augie March'' features the titular character driving through France on his way to Bruges on business. *'' Bruges-la-Morte'' (1982), a short novel by the Belgian author Georges Rodenbach. The libretto of
Erich Wolfgang Korngold Erich Wolfgang Korngold (May 29, 1897November 29, 1957) was an Austrian-born American composer and conductor. A child prodigy, he became one of the most important and influential composers in Hollywood history. He was a noted pianist and compos ...
's opera Die Tote Stadt (1920) is based on this book. * The detective stories of Belgian writer Pieter Aspe are situated in Bruges. * ''Niccolò Rising'' (1986), the first volume of Dorothy Dunnett's eight-book series, ''The House of Niccolò, House of Niccolò'', is largely set in Bruges. Other books in the series also have sections set in the Belgian city. * Alan Hollinghurst's 1994 novel ''The Folding Star'' is set in a Flemish town that is recognisably Bruges. * ''L'Astrologue de Bruges'' ("The Astrologer of Bruges," 1994), a Belgian bande dessinée in the Yoko Tsuno comic series, is entirely set in both contemporary and 1545's Bruges *The first part of the "Letters from Zedelghem" story in David Mitchell (author), David Mitchel's ''Cloud Atlas'' (2004) takes place near Bruges, in the titular Zedelgem, Zedelghem municipality.


Film

* Fred Zinnemann, Fred Zinneman's ''The Nun's Story (film), The Nun's Story'' is a 1959 dramatic film starring Audrey Hepburn that is primarily set in Bruges. * ''The Killer Is on the Phone'' (Italian language, Italian: ) is a 1972 Giallo film, ''giallo'' film set in Bruges. * The main antagonist of the Austin Powers, Austin Powers film series, Dr. Evil, was raised in Bruges * The 2008 film ''In Bruges'', starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, is set almost entirely in Bruges. Throughout the film, which was directed by British-Irish director Martin McDonagh, the city's major landmarks and history are mentioned repeatedly, as are the contrasted viewpoints of the two lead characters of the story. * In 2014 Bollywood film PK (film), PK, opening scenes involving Anushka Sharma and Sushant Singh Rajput (including song Chaar Kadam) are set in Bruges. * The story of the removal of the ''Madonna of Bruges'' being removed by the Nazis and then returned is told in the fact-based 2014 movie ''The Monuments Men''. * The 2019 Hallmark movie, Love, Romance & Chocolate, starring Lacey Chabert, takes place in Bruges.


Television and music

* The song "Marieke (song), Marieke" by Belgian singer Jacques Brel is about a Flemish girl, Marieke, whom Brel once loved and lived "between the towers of Bruges and
Ghent Ghent ( ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Du ...

Ghent
." *''Floris (TV series), Floris'', a Dutch television action series written by Gerard Soeteman, depicts castles located in Belgian cities, including Bruges. *In the seventh episode of ''Where Is My Friend's Home'' (2015–2016), a South Korea, South-Korean Reality television, reality-Travel documentary, travel TV show, the cast tours Bruges as part of the Where Is My Friend's Home#2nd trip - Belgium, second season's trip to Belgium. * Some scenes from episode 6 of season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. take place in Bruges, where a local beer, "Straffe Hendrik," is mentioned and shown.


Notes


Further reading

* *


External links

* * {{Authority control Bruges, Municipalities of West Flanders Port cities and towns in Belgium Port cities and towns of the North Sea Provincial capitals of Flanders Trading posts of the Hanseatic League World Heritage Sites in Belgium